Vishnu stands with his legs apart holding his four attributes in his hands. Reading in clockwise direction from his right front hand he holds: his club, discus, conch and lotus, here a rather flat object cupped in his palm. His back two arms are extremely short. The figure is encircled with a decorated arch with a line of beads and triangular shaped openings around them. A stylized sun and moon are to either side of Vishnu’s head. He wears a variety of simple, lumpy jewelry at his feet are a horse to his right and a bull or cow to his left and between them are three rings lying flat on the base. At the front of the base are seven stylized horses, identifying this as a combination figure: Vishnu and the sun god Surya, whose chariot is pulled by seven horses.
Vishnu is one of the principal gods of Hinduism, along with Shiva and the goddess, and commands a large following. He is often depicted with four arms and consistently carries four attributes: the discus, conch, club and lotus. The addition of the seven horses at the base lets us know that this is a combination of the god Vishnu and the sun god Surya. This is a common combination in iconographies that try to link many of the older nature gods with the fully developed pantheon of Hinduism.
Hanuman is depicted with a human body and a monkey head. The image is incised on the plate and his body is entirely textured with characters in the devanagari script. Often merely the letter ‘r’ designating the god Rama with whom he is associated. He is in a striding posture and there are a number of sections of text scattered around the image. At his feet is a human figure walking in the opposite direction. He holds a double flag consisting of two triangular shapes facing him in his left hand along with a thin club. One appears to emanating from his mouth? His right hand is lifted with an arrow above it and his tail curves behind him. There is also a small altar depicting the two feet of Rama in the area between his outstretched leg and the end of a scarf wrapped around his body.
The monkey Hanuman, often referred to as a monkey god, figures prominently in the epic, the Ramayana, telling the story of the incarnation of Vishnu and his war against the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. He is the most important of the monkey hosts and served important function in the story. He is often sculpted to fit into a set of sculptures depicting the god Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, and his brother Lakshman and his wife Sita. The groups sometimes signify the coronation of the god Rama, which is the end of the story, but sometimes the grouping is of them all standing. He has a devotional following of his own and is usually depicted as a human with a monkey’s head. In this engraving he takes a completely religious role being made up of devotional phrases.