Saturday, January 31, 2009

More of the same

This looks like Yama to me, the God of the Dead, who is usually seen riding a buffalo, armed with his mace
The rock-bed carvings at Koh Ker look quite crude in comparison to other rock-face bas reliefs that can be found in the river at Kbal Spean for example or on the cave walls on and in the lee of Phnom Kulen. They need to be cleaned up and all the carvings revealed properly before making a serious assessment of them, though I counted nearly 100 individual sculptures, some more clearly defined than others. They may've been part of an underwater group of carvings in the dim and distant past if the water level of Trapeang Ang Khnar had been higher, or they could've been an offering to the gods depicted on the rock-face, though their location is not close to any of the larger temples at the site. They begin about 50m east of the small shrine of Prasat Khnar. They are facing west - the temples of Koh Ker have mixed orientation to the east and the west - and look out over the small pond. I hope to get back out to Koh Ker in the near future for another scout around and to get to visit some of the temples that have now become accessible in the last year or so.
I reckon this is the elephant-head of Ganesha, son of Shiva, who cut his son'r head off in a fit of anger and replaced it with the first thing he found! I've never seen Ganesha with multi-arms before though, so someone may be able to offer an alternative explanation.
This picture shows where the carvings are situated and that some of them are still covered up by earth
This looks like a worn carving of Shiva dancing whilst drunk
The figure on the right of the central trio looks like a hermit or rishi praying with his long beard
This section of rock with multiple carvings has been defaced and the heads destroyed except for the central figure
My guess is the underworld god Varuna riding a hamsa, though Brahma also rode a hamsa mount at times
An unidentifiable Buddhist figure in traditional posture, with the top of a linga above the boulder
Some of the final rock carvings at the Trapeang Ang Khnar site
Sitting atop one of the carved rock-beds was this three linga-yoni carved on top of the natural sandstone boulder



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