wall lizard and vishnu

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 13 14:24:49 UTC 1999

> From The Art of South East Asia, H. N. Abrams, 1998,
(a splendid production, highly to recommended,
It is very, very Indian, Didn't Tagore, on a visit to the East,
  say something like:"I see India every where, only the faces are
  different". Has Burton Stein's seminal theory on segmentary Chola
state, peasant-priest (vellala-brahmana) alliance applied to Khmer
state in the field of History? - NG)

p. 173:
" The five brick sanctuary towers of Prasat Kravanh, which are
arranged on a single terrace with the openings towards the east, are
almost unique in Cambodian architecture in having relief decoration
inside. ..  Carved directly in the brickwork, the reliefs are
found in the middle tower and the northernmost one, they
belong to the iconography of the god Vishnu and are among the
finest creations of the tenth century. The northernmost tower is
dedicated to Sri,  also known as Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu.
.... The representations of three aspects of Vishnu in the central
tower command more attention in that they are very much better
preserved. Appearing in glory beneath rich multifoil arcatures,
the god is portrayed in his Trivikrama aspect to the south,
in his Garudavahana aspect to the north, and to the west in
a supreme eight-armed form, surrounded by massed ranks of deities
paying homage and surmounted by a series of nine characters
representing the "Nine Devas', together with an enigmatic
*lizard* figure seen in profile.

  The principal image of this sanctuary was quite properly placed on
a pedestal at the center of the cella. The inscription on the door
jambs  states that this image bore the name of Trailokyanatha,
"Lord of the Three worlds". We like to hypothesize that the three
large interior reliefs carry symbolic representations of Vishnu's
power over each of the worlds concerned: the earth, intermediate
space, and the celestial spheres. By no means everything in these
splendid reliefs has been explained, and the element of mystery
that they retain (particularly the lizard) is symbolically
enhanced for the modern viewer by the darkness surrounding them."

 > Have seen a wall lizard sculpture very near the mUlabera
 > of the Kanchipuram varadarAja(aruLALa) perumAL temple.
 > In some other Vishnu temples too, in South East Asia
 > also.
 > Is there any temple legends connecting wall lizard (palli)
 > with Vishnu? In Alvars? In Vaishnava works from Sanskrit?

Thanks for any leads,
N. Ganesan

Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit http://www.msn.com

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list