Hanuman Accompanies Surya, the Sun God
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
This circular painting shows Surya, the Sun God, educating young Hanuman in the ways of wisdom and power. In the Ramayana, Hanuman applies this knowledge to become renowned as a shrewd counselor, magical shape-changer, and swift flyer. Hanuman flies behind Surya, who is seated in an elaborate chariot. Chariots are often depicted in paintings associated with the town of Puri. They recall the city's spectacular Jagannath festival, during which divine sculptures are paraded through the streets on enormous chariots. Details such as this use of chariots illustrate how depictions of Hanuman became localized and distinct in various regions of India.