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A bronze sculpture of a man standing upright on a small pedestal. His hip is leaned to the left and his arms are bent outwards. He is wearing a tall headpiece.

The bronze sculpture is of a man standing on a small, rounded pedestal. He is standing upright facing the viewer with his feet together and hip leaned to the left. He is slender in shape with wide shoulders. His right arm is bent with his hand pointed forward and his fingers bent inward. His left arm is raised horizontal from his shoulder and bent forward. His left fingers are pointing back to his face. He is wearing a detailed necklace, arm bands, a detailed belt, and a detailed oblong-shaped hat. He is smiling and has long ears.

Gallery Text

The warrior-prince Rama was an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. Rama’s story of exile in the wilderness and eventual victory over demon armies is told in the great Sanskrit epic the Ramayana. This figure once leaned on a tall bow with his left hand and held an arrow in his right, bringing to mind key episodes in the epic that called upon his legendary prowess as an archer.

The figure’s unusually narrow waist and broad shoulders reveal the stylized canon of human proportions developed by sculptors of the Chola dynasty (c. 970–1279) in southern India. Bronze sculpture reached a peak during this period, with exceptional grace of pose and gesture deriving from temple dance traditions. Chola bronzes of Hindu deities were created for use in shrines, but many also served as processional images. They were sometimes removed from their shrines during festivals and paraded through temple grounds and city streets.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Standing Rama Wearing High Headdress and Dhoti
Work Type
figure, sculpture
Chola period, 13th century
Creation Place: South Asia, India, Tamil Nadu
Chola period, c. 9th-13th centuries
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2590, South Asian Art, South Asia in the Medieval and Early Modern Eras
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Physical Descriptions

H. 71.5 x W. 35.5 cm (28 1/8 x 14 in.)
sight: D. 22 cm (8 11/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Denman W. Ross, Cambridge, MA, (by 1930), gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1930.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Denman W. Ross
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Exhibition History

  • S424: Indian and Southeast Asian Sculpture, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 10/20/1985 - 08/01/2008
  • Re-View: Arts of India & the Islamic Lands, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/26/2008 - 06/01/2013
  • 32Q: 2590 South and Southeast Asia, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at