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Macaca Mulatta, M. Radiata, the rhesus monkey and bonnet macaque

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Chapter Summary

Macaques are Old World monkeys (cercopithecids), closely related to the baboons of Africa though much smaller, with a head and body length of about 0.75 m. In general, depictions of macaques from the northern half of the subcontinent represent the rhesus monkey with its quarter length tail and those from the southern half the bonnet macaque with its long tail. The majority of macaque sculptures illustrate their role in various narratives; only rarely this is not the case, such as the statue of a bonnet macaque family at Mammalapuram, Tamil Nadu. The many roles and anthropomorphic characteristics attributed to macaques suppose that macaques are the perfect stand-in for humans, at least as far as narrative reliefs are concerned. Monkeys further figure regularly in erotic sculptures as a symbol for the unbound desires (e.g. at Patan, Rajasthan, and Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh).

Keywords: bonnet macaque; narrative reliefs; rhesus monkey; stone sculptures

10.1163/ej.9789004168190.i-462.125
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004168190.i-462.125
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