Masked monkey dancer performs at Batubulan Village in Bali
A masked dancer wearing a monkey costume performs in a Hindu temple courtyard in Batubulan Village, Bali, during August 1986. The kneeling dancer wears a brown and black monkey head mask with long dark hair attached. His costume includes a spotted grey jumpsuit and dark gloves. He dances barefoot, as is customary in classical Southeast Asian dancing. In Southeast Asia, Hanuman and other monkey parts generally are played by men because the roles are seen as opportunities for masculine athletics.
At this point in the Ramayana story, Rama grieves over what he thinks is the dead Sita while Hanuman, who has recently visited Sita in Lanka, suspects a demon trick. When they place the fake Sita's corpse on a cremation fire, Ravana's niece turns back into her former appearance. She tries to fly away but the monkey soldiers capture her. Rama takes pity on her and tells Hanuman to return her to Lanka alive. As usual, Hanuman is attracted to beauty, and he courts Ravana's niece before she departs. She later gives birth to a son who is half monkey and half demon. Balinese perform ritual dances at their temple grounds in conjunction with many Hindu and village religious ceremonies. They allow properly dressed tourists to visit many of these vents although sometimes there are separate performances for local community ceremonies and for foreign tourists.
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