Shadow puppet, Hanuman

This shadow puppet of Hanuman is also known as 'Veera Anjaneya' in south India. Hanuman is the monkey hero from the 'Ramayana' and is depicted here with the 'namam' (Vaishnava forehead mark). He is wearing elaborate jewels, garlands and headgear on a warrior’s physique with detachable arms, legs and a tail. This puppet is perforated with floral motif all over which when seen against light casts a beautiful shadow with patterned light. Hanuman is a highly revered celibate deity in India, while in Thailand he is a womaniser and has numerous love affairs with women of the earth, the heaven and the seas. He is one of the main characters from the Ramayana and is important in the pantheon of Hindu gods.This form of shadow puppetry is known as Tholubomalatta in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The puppets of Andhra Pradesh are unique in that they are created in a combination of profile and frontal views, as seen in this Hanuman where the legs and head point to the side in a profile view while the rest of the body is presented in a frontal view.