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Hanuman painting

Item: Hanuman

Painter: unknown

Dated: early to mid 1900s

Size: 11 x 16 in

Provenance: Collected in Bali, Indonesia in 1988.

Traditional Balinese Painting

Traditional ink and natural dyes on a locally produced cloth, unsigned and undated. The figure is Hanuman, the general among the vanaras, an ape-like race of forest-dwellers, and a disciple of Lord Rama in the struggle against the demon king Ravana. He is a central character in the Hindu epic of the Ramayana. The painting is unusual in the application of color to items in that it is more of a stain or a wash of color.

The Painter: Paintings produced for formal or religious uses were considered anonymous. Rather than the Western obsession with individuality of artistic expression and ownership of ideas, Balinese painters of this period rarely signed their names to their works. This view slowly changed with the influence of the European painters working in Bali in the 1920s and 1930s.

The line drawing style derives from both the Balinese Classical Kamasan paintings and temple hangings. Before the 1920s, Balinese traditional paintings were in the Kamasan or Wayang style, traditionally drawn on cloth or bark paper with natural dyes and follow strictly prescribed rules. Kamasan is a visual narrative of Hindu-Javanese epics: the Ramayana and Mahabharata in two-dimensional drawings.

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Item code: hanuman0101

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