A truly powerful and iconic image of Hanuman is his five-headed manifestation, as presented in this ‘panchaloha’ bronze sculptural work. From the skilled hand of the ‘sthapati’ of Swamimalai comes this visually enchanting and divine idol that conceptualises the monkey god in a syncretic union of Shaivite and Vaishnavite iconography. As the courageous and dutiful companion of Rama, our Vayu ‘putra,’ or son of the wind-God Vayu, stands proud on a raised double lotus platform and is draped in a subtle yet detailed attire that extends till his feet.
five heads set their gaze upon all directions, and embody the strength and
vitality to overcome any sort of fear and obstacle from the path of dharma. The
ten hands hold the various attributes of Narasimha, Varaha, Hayagriva, Garuda,
and represent the benevolent and kind, as well as fierce nature of the deity. As
one of the central characters of the epic Ramayana, Hanuman’s Panchamukhi form
was said to have overcome Ahiravana. Moreover, the five heads of the figure are
emblematic of Hanuman’s yogic control over the five senses, or the ‘pancha
indriya.’ Such an iconic piece, executed in the ‘madhuchista vidhana’ or lost
wax technique of bronze casting, is a truly spectacular artistic creation,
which also serves as an important religious idol for worship and reverence.
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