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Photographer's Note

In the bas-relief panel, the front end of the serpent is being pulled by 91 surly-looking asuras (demons), anchored by the 21-headed demon king Ravana; on the right are 88 almond-eyed devas (gods) pulling on the tail, anchored by monkey-god Hanuman. The central pivot, or churning stick, is a complicated piece of imagery. Vasuki has wrapped himself around Mount Mandara, represented by a tower. At one point Mount Mandara started to sink, and had to be propped up by a giant tortoise, an incarnation of Vishnu. The Sea of Milk, or the Ocean of Immortality, is represented by innumerable fish and aquatic creatures, torn to shreds as they swim close to powerful air currents near the churning stick.



Directing operations at the center is the large four-armed figure of Vishnu (above), closely associated with Angkor Wat's builder, Suryavarman II. The smaller figure above Vishnu is Indra, god of the sky. The actions of the gods and demons cause Vasuki to rotate the tower-mountain and churn the sea into foam, like a giant cosmic blender. This releases a seminal fluid that creates a divine ambrosia, amrita, the essence of life and immortality. Many other treasures are also flung up. Born of this action are apsaras, or celestial dancers, a purely Khmer innovation. The seductive apsaras promise a joyful existence for those who attain the ultimate incarnation; it is assumed that higher incarnations will be male in form.

Michael Buckley is author of the newly-published Heartlands. He has also written the Tibet Travel Adventure Guide, Moon's Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos Travel Handbook, Cycling to Xian , Tibet, and has guided VeloAsia tours in Sumatra and Vietnam.


INSIDE THE ROYAL PALACE GROUNDS IN PHNOM PENH.

This can be seen in Bangkok Airport too.


ikeharel, PaulVDV, COSTANTINO, pajaran, danos, ChrisJ έχουν(ει) επιλέξει αυτή τη σημείωση ως χρήσιμη

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Additional Photos by sam sun (samson) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 295 W: 17 N: 385] (2250)
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