Friday, March 13, 2009

Lintel heaven

The north-west brick tower in the foreground with the stepped-pyramid of Bakong behind
I promised you more of the beautiful lintels that adorn the eight brick towers that surround the base of the imposing stepped-pyramid from the 9th century at Bakong in the Roluos Group, near Siem Reap. The sandstone lintels are decorated with a variety of monsters and a richness of motifs that makes them among some of the best decorative lintels in Khmer art, according to many. The upper band of the lintels are usually very high with a row of worshippers or deities. The brick pediments immediately above them were sculpted too but modelled in stucco, which has disappeared over time. Some of the lintels are in fantastic condition though others are weathered or have been disfigured, though each of the lintels here follow pretty much a similar design with floral garlands across the center of the narrative.
Full of figures, fifteen in total with two lion-like creatures known as gajasimha at the ends and Vishvakarma sitting on the kala. There are also naga heads and a row of deities at the top.
A much less intense lintel narrative with far fewer figures though essentially the same design with Vishvakarma the central god
Much of this lintel is badly eroded though figures riding elephants remain clear, as do the deities high above
The figures high above are less defined and the lintel is full of floral scrolling, with Vishvakarma again sat regally on the grinning kala
Quite a vivid lintel though partly disfigured. There are many figures either side of Vishvakarma on a plinth - no kala at all - with a multitude of naga heads and two human figures at the ends of the entwined garlands
Detail from a corner of the final lintel, showing a small figure bearing the weight of the lintel and above a human figure has replaced the makara-cum-gajasimha

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