The authors K.C. Aryan (painter, sculptor, and art historian) and his daughter Subhashini Aryan deserve kudos, because they have written knowledgeably on Hanuman, the God who has escaped the notice of most Indian art historians and who is usually dismissed as a ludicrous figure by western scholars. As the reader thumbs through the book, looking at the illustrations and figures, reading the notes and fitting them within the perspective of the text, one is impressed by the fascinating array that the Aryans have presented.
The text is divided into two sections. The first section by K.C. Aryan deals with the pictorial representation of Hanuman in painting, sculpture, bronzes, woodcarvings, masks, traditional theatre, leather puppets and minor arts and crafts such as pendants amulets, bells, ritual pots, toys etc.A most unusual specimen is the highly stylized depiction of Hanuman by an unknown Muslim painter.
The book is rendered invaluable by the illustrations, especially the Patakas and bronzes. The authors travelled far and wide in India collecting material and photographing objects. They have not confined themselves to India. They present Hanuman as seen by the artists of Nepal, Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, Bali, Cambodia etc. The illuminating text sheds light on their intrinsic worth as art objects as well as on their cultural and historical significance.
The second section by Subhashini Aryan is on Hanuman in mythology and folklore. It is a rare pleasure indeed to get acquainted with the many unknown facts about Hanuman. Very few people know that Hanuman was a learned scholar, grammarian, musician par excellence,and that he is worshipped by the Shaktas, Tantrikas and Shaivas alike. At the end of this section, the author has written a brief note on the diverse versions of the Ramakatha, with a view to enable the reader to understand why Hanuman was depicted in a particular manner. It also sheds light on the versions which were responsible for the depiction, for example, of an amorous Hanuman in Thailand. This book has a wealth of material for the indologist and layman.