Ibibio Figure Group (Hanuman) Object

Tue, 2016-02-23 16:47 -- ehornor
Ibibio Figure Group (Hanuman)
Nigeria, Ibibio or Ogoni
mid 20th Century
Wood, paint
1994.3.8.  Gift of William S. Arnett

Hinduism as a movement came to Nigeria in the early 20th century, with the arrival of Sindhis, an ethnic group from present-day Pakistan. The Sindhis were looking for economic opportunities, particularly helping to build railroads for the colonial government (both India and Nigeria were under British colonial rule). Another Indian community came when missionaries from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness first arrived in 1979 with guru Bhakti Tirtha Swami.
 
Hanuman is the simian-god, who is devoted to Rama and a key character in the Ramayana, an epic describing the life of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu. Rama and Hanuman meet in the fifth book of the Ramayana, when Rama is exiled from Ayodhya, the capital of his kingdom. Rama and his brother Lakshmana are searching for Rama’s wife Sita, who was kidnapped by Ravana. In sculpture and print Hanuman is often depicted holding a scepter and Mount San Jeevani and standing with one leg on a rock, but here he appears in another depiction, carrying Rama and Lakshmana and trampling the giant Kalanemi, who was sent by Ravana to kill Hanuman.

As a sculpture enshrined, Hanuman is typically coated with offerings of ghee and painted with vermilion, which has antiseptic and healing properties, and demonstrates his fearlessness and assertiveness.