H-ASIA: Q. Peacock throne and huma bird

Allen Thrasher athr at loc.gov
Mon May 19 20:09:21 UTC 1997

Can anyone tell when the idea that the huma never alights appears?  Europe
had the notion that the Birds of Paradise (found in New Guinea), and it
acquired this idea because the feet were removed from the skins that were
sent back from New Guinea.  I presume the idea therefore is after Columbus
and Da Gama.  Could the idea the Islamic huma never ceases flying
therefore come from Europe, or from the Birds of Pariadise skins? 

Also, I own a twentieth century miniature from Jammu and Kashmir of Vishnu
on his bird vehicle Garuda in which Garuda has no legs.  I have never seen
another on which this is true.  Has anyone else?  Garuda _is_
traditionally depicted as alighting, e.g. in the Mahabharata. 

Allen W. Thrasher

The opinions expressed do not represent those of my employer.

On Mon, 19 May 1997, Frank Conlon wrote:

>                                 H-ASIA
>                              May 19, 1997
> Query on peacock throne and the huma bird (previously on symbolism of
> peacock throne in Qing dynasty)
> ***************************************************************************
> From: Kate Brittlebank <K.Brittlebank at unsw.EDU.AU>
> I have been following this thread with interest.  I am wondering if there
> is a link in the symbolism of Islamic kingship between the peacock and the
> mythical bird, the huma.  I believe the latter has its origins in Iran but
> it was certainly used in India as a royal symbol, at least by Muslim
> rulers.  It was said that the huma flew continuously (i.e. never landed)
> and that kingship was conferred on whomever its shadow fell.  Royal thrones
> sometimes had the huma as a sort of canopy (or chatr), for obvious reasons.
> Tipu Sultan's throne is a good example.
> Dr Kate Brittlebank
> School of History
> University of New South Wales
> Sydney, NSW 2052
> Australia
> Tel: 61-2-9385-1630
> Fax: 61-2-9385-1251
> =========================================================================
>         To post to  H-ASIA  simply send your message to:
>                         <H-ASIA at h-net.msu.edu>
>           For holidays or short absences send post to:
>                 <listserv at h-net.msu.edu> with message:
>                         SET H-ASIA NOMAIL
>        Upon return, send post with message SET H-ASIA MAIL
>        H-ASIA WEB HOMEPAGE URL:    http://h-net.msu.edu/~asia/

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list