Artist/maker unknown, India
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Rama—great hero, ideal king, and one of the ten avatars of the god Vishnu—is the protagonist of the Ramayana, a popular Hindu religious text. In this processional image, Rama’s hands are placed to hold a bow (now missing); it is with a bow and arrow that he kills his nemesis, the evil demon king Ravana. The temple hall in which this sculpture stands incorporates many images of Rama, including eight relief slabs (placed around the inside of the hall just below the ceiling) that once formed part of a much larger series that tells the full story of the Ramayana.