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About this photograph

Margery H. Freeman
Date created
Bangkok, Thailand
This photograph copyright ©2006. Terms of use

See this photograph in context

  • The Ramayana: The Hindu epic The Ramayana is retold through the mural, painting, and dance of Southeast Asia. (Page 3.13)

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In the classroom

  • See our collection of articles on visual literacy for ideas on using photographs meaningfully in the classroom.
Hermit tells Hanuman how to quench the fire on his tail, from Thai Ramayana mural at Emerald Buddha Temple

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In this mural scene painted at the Emerald Buddha Temple, a wise hermit tells Hanuman how to quench the fire on his tail. Hanuman kneels on a red tiled floor holding up his tail in distress. A bearded hermit listens, dressed in golden clothes as he sits in a small roofed pavillion located in the forested mountains.

After Ravana sets Hanuman’s body on fire, and the invulnerable Hanuman takes revenge by burning Ravana’s palace and city, Hanuman is able to quench the fire from everywhere on his body except his tail.

Even though Hanuman swims in the sea surrounding the demon island of Lanka, his tail continues to burn until he finds this forest hermit who can reveal the secret. The monkey god Hanuman must put his burning tail into his own mouth to quench the demon’s fire!