Alexandra Vandergeer geeraae at GEOL.UOA.GR
Mon Jan 26 07:08:58 UTC 2009

The demon then seems more like some sort of hybrid of mainland taxa, not
much 'invertebrate' parts. Maybe the idea is that the demon merely hides
in the/a conch, like some mini-lobsters do? That would explain the tiny
horns, though horns are of course an excellent feature of any demon. The
whole animal gives the impression of a horned macaque. Even the number of
legs is non-invertebate.

Thanks for the enlarged version!


> Dan Ehnbom is the curator of the South Asia collection at the
> University of Virginia Museum. I told him about our discussion
> about this painting and asked him to comment. He sent me a better
> image of the painting, which I have posted to
>, and
> offered this comment:
> <begin quote>
> Here is a better picture of it.  Sankhasura is the demonic figure
> to the left of center at the bottom.  Because Indian art, as
> Coomaraswamy said, is an art of statement rather than
> description, he is not very conch-like, except perhaps for the
> blob-like form on his abdomen.
> Possibly this is the demon assuming his true form at the moment
> of his death.
> <end quote>
> Bob Hueckstedt
> Valerie J Roebuck wrote:
>> I can't see any conch-demon in this picture. The nearly central
> figure
>> in the water looks like a demon with an ass's head or similar,
>> plunging head first.
>> Valerie J Roebuck
>> At 12:57 pm -0800 23/1/09, Stefan Baums wrote:
>>> Dear Valerie et al.,
>>>> The conch-demon is S'ankhaasura ... depicted in painted sets
> of
>>>> Avataras from the 18th-19th century, but I haven't got an
> example to
>>>> hand.
>>> here is an example from the University of Virginia Art Museum
> (second
>>> image from the top):
> /Asi
>>> an/India.html
>>> Unfortunately rather small, and I'm not sure I see the conch,
> unless
>>> it is the orange object floating in the river in the bottom
> left of
>>> the painting.
>>> All best,
>>> Stefan
>>> --
>>> Stefan Baums
>>> Asian Languages and Literature
>>> University of Washington

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list