Antique Hanuman Amulet Plaque, Cast Bronze Hanuman Pendant, Shaivite Amulet, Large, 675 Grams
This is an antique example of a Shaivite ascetic's pectoral pendant plaque cast in bronze with a large central figure of Hanuman, the celebrated Celestial Monkey chief and devoted follower of Rama who is held in great veneration all over India by Hindu Shaivites, but especially in the south by the Vashnatives. This is probably from Karnataka or Maharashtra.
The large bronze pectoral is worn by ascetic devotees to Hanuman - as detailed in the last listing photo: from Traditional Jewellery of India - Oppi Untracht - page 108.
It has a large bale on the back to allow suspension from around the neck despite it weighing 675 grams.
Iconography in this Pectoral Plaque:
The outer circular form is a mandala that serves as the frame and represents stylized flames (prabhavala) implying a mystic radiance or aura that emanates from Hanuman.
At the top of the plaque is a seven-headed Nagaraja Sesha, hooded cobra, which hovers over Hanuman's image to protect it, and on either side are two parrots.
Hanuman is associated with Vishnu and so to either side of the mandala frame appears Vishnu's main symbols - on the right a small conch (shankha) and on the left a small discus (chakra).
Hanuman the central image is represented in an archaic posture, head on right-facing profile, body frontal, arms frontal, and legs apart with the feet in right-facing profile. The pose suggests running, but it is intended to represent him in flight in the air.
It recalls an episode in the Indian Ramayana epic when Hanuman flew through the air to bring flesh-healing, medicinal herbs (sanjivani buti) to the wounded Rama and his army. (The leafy herbs can be seen in Hanuman's left hand and rising from his waist.)
Hanuman strides over the prostate body of Laksmana, Rams's devoted younger half brother who was mortally wounded.
On Hanuman's head is a crown or tiara.
The plaque has been cast by the lost wax process. The fine details are are very well executed in comparison to other published examples. It is in excellent condition and has real sculptural appeal.
It has been not polished over the years and I have left the original surface residue patina.