Friday, 24 February 2017

Wat Bo: West wall, upper register

1-West wall, upper register

This register must be read from left to right.

Fig.1.W. - Hiran, feeling over-potent, rolled up the surface of earth and brought it to Badan, the underworld. Shiva commanded Vishnu to destroy the giant and restore the earth’s surface

Fig.2.W. - For the occasion, Vishnu took the form of a potent white boar..  Hiran, unaware that the boar was really Vishnu, beat the boar viciously. Vishnu, regaining his godly shape, assaulted the giant (Fig. 2. W, bottom left). Vishnu then unrolled and replaced the Earth’s surface.

Fig. 3.WE. -Vishnu returned to his abode in the middle of the ocean and from his umbilicus emerged a lotus carrying a small, beautiful boy, Anomatan. It is interesting to note the similarity of the iconography here with that of Vishnu reclining and the creation of Brahma as in Hindu mythology.
These first image painted on the top left corner of the western wall that initiates the visual narrative refers to the story that does not appear in any known Cambodian publications, but only in the Thai Ramakien.

Fig.4. W. - Indra bringing Anomatan (as a youth of white skin) dressed in princely costumes, to see Shiva.  They proceeded on elephants driven by mahouts, with carriers of parasols, together with cavaliers and guards in Western costumes, until they faced the doors of Shiva’s palace. Admiring the boy Shiva ordered to build a beautiful city for him (instantly, by magic).
In the city, surrounded by walls, there is grand palace of complex structure (Fig. 07 W). To the upper left side of the panel, Indra can be seen conferring the city to Anomatan. In an open compound or perhaps a garden, there are four rishis, wearing their traditional pointed headdress (right). According to Ramakien, the site chosen for the building of the city was a clearing in a forest inhabited by four ascetics. Indra composed the name of the city by the first syllables of the four rishis names: A-Yu-Tha-Ya. Their names were Achonkhawi, Yukakra, Thaha and Yakha.
In the Ramakien is said that contemporaneously to the making of Ayudhya, in the underground, Brahma built the new city, a gift to Chaturaphak (a yak with four faces). Iit was later moved to Lanka.

Fig.5.W. – Detail of the city of Ayhudhya.

*Here end the upper register

2 -West wall, middle register

Fig.6.W.- There was a yak named Asura Phrom[1] who, greedy for more power, begged Shiva to be granted invincibility and a magic club. He immediately abused his new power, tormenting gods and humans. However, Maliwakha Phrom[2] informed Shiva of the danger, who gave him a sacred sword which was more powerful than the club he had given to Asura Phrom. Maliwakha Phrom, took the sword of Shiva, flew to the palace in Ayuthaya, descended from the sky to present the sacred sword to Atchaban, the new king Ayuthaya Fig.6.W. .

[1] Also called Asura Phak in Ramakien.
[2] Later renamed Maliwarat in Ramakien.

Fig.7.W. - The demon Triburam entered the forest to perform meditation and asceticism for seven years and seven days sitting near a river and encircled by magic fires in the belief that he could obtain more power and invincibility from Shiva (Fig. 7. W, center). On the mural, Shiva is shown sitting on the back of Nandin (Fig. 15 W, left, or Fig. 16 W), with a servant protecting him with a parasol, appearing in front of Triburam, kneeling to request a boon of supernatural powers (Fig. 16 W). Before granting the favour, Shiva made Triburam promise he would not use his might against the inhabitants of the earth or the heavens, to which Triburam agreed, but soon disobeyed, succumbing to his lust.

Fig.8.W. -When Shiva was told of the misbehavior of Triburam, he decided to raise an army against the yak (Fig. 17 W). The painting shows the god standing on Nandin, while holding his massive bow with his right arm. Shiva will later donate the bow to the king of Mithila, Janaka and which only Rama will be able to lift. Triburam, after raising a well-equipped army, fought Shiva.

Fig.9.W. - Because of his boon, the arrow used by Shiva had lost its power and could not reach or kill Triburam, forcing Shiva to use the fire of his third eye to reduce him to ashes, although this not depicted.

The end of the middle register of the west wall. 

1 -West wall, lower register
This register must read from left to right.

Fig.10.W.- Some panels were originally illustrating the legend of Nonthok.
The much damaged murals show only two fragmentary scenes. Seated in a pavilion, next to the palace of Shiva, a bald Nonthok is shown pointing the index finger of his left hand towards flying deities (Fig. 10 W, left). In the second scene, we see the upper part of a dancing girl, the incarnation of Vishnu, pointing her finger at her own thigh (Fig. 10W, right), which Nonthok copied and fell, killed by his own diamond finger. 

Fig.11.W. - In the next panel, we find reincarnated as Ravana receiving the teaching of Khobut
(Fig. 22 W, left); the young Ravana looks submissive, and after having been completed his studies, he went to enjoy the flowers and fruits in the garden of the god Orachun, infuriating him.

Fig.12.W. - The succeeding scenes shift to go to the legend of the origin of the two monkeys, who, in the future, will be allied with Rama. Khodom, formerly a great ruler but without any sons, became totally devoted to ascetic life. While he remained immobile for 2,000 years, a pair of birds nested in his beard. Khodom overheard the birds say he was cursed because he had no children. Therefore, by a secret fire, he made a woman appear, named Kala Atchana, whom he married. From them a girl was born, named Sawaha, and later his wife Kala Atchana mothered two boys: one from Indra and another from Suriya, the sun god.

Fig.13.W. - One day Khodom, who is depicted caricatured with a floppy belly, went to bathe with the children. Khodom is shown walking towards the river with a boy on each hip, one of green skin that being the child of Indra, then other with red skin that being the child of Suriya, and the girl Sawaha, with white skin, walking at his side. The left part of the sanel shows Kala Atchana and Khodom sitting in their hermitage holding their three children, each with different skin colour). Sawaha complained to her father that he was carrying the sons of somebody else while letting his real child walk. The old hermit became furious and threw the three children into the river, saying that his own children would swim back to him, and those of someone else would become monkeys. The only one to return was Sawaha and the two brothers were carried away by the water and transformed into monkeys (extreme right of panel), to become known as Valin and Sugriva, rulers of the kingdom of Kiskindha; Valin was the king and Sugriva the viceroy.

Fig.14. W.-Sawaha who had betrayed her mother Kala Atchana was cursed by her to stand frozen atop Mount Chakkrawan with an open mouth eating only wind until she was put into the mouth some fecundating drops of Shiva. She gave birth to a white monkey named Hanuman, who would become the most devoted and effective soldier of Rama.

Fig.15.W. - Hanuman, who was born fully grown, with two arms  and twice with multiple arms, large and strong, shows off his powers to all.

Fig.16.W. - Rammasun (Parasurama) rushed to her trying to snatch the jewel away, chasing her, while Mekkhala disappeared into the clouds. Rammasun became furious and cut a path into the clouds with his axe producing thunder until he crossed the path of Orachun, who was very irritated. The two quarreled and fought fiercely. Rammasun took Orachun by the feet, swung him around and threw him against the rocks of Mount Sumeru (Fig. 33 W), causing the mountain to tilt.

Fig.17.W. - Shiva ordered that all the deva, naga, khrut, and learned men, along with Valin and Sugriva, help to straighten the mountain. They used a naga as a pulling rope wrapped around Mount Sumeru, but the mountain could still not be straightened. Sugriva, who was holding the naga, tickled the naga on his navel causing the naga to contract, allowing Valin to move and straighten the mountain although little. On the panel Sugriva is depicted holding the naga, with Valin shown seated in front of Shiva.

Fig.18.W. - Only the top part of the panel is preserved, showing many nagas at the back of a building in which there are two asura and their consorts (Fig. 35 W). To the right of this is illustrated the episode of the naga, Kala Nak, king of the underworld, who wanted to eliminate the herds of demons surrounding his city (Fig. 36 W), and decided to attack. Saha Maliwan knew that to repel the attack of the nagas he needed garudas and that his friend Latsatian possessed a magic arrow that transformed into garudas.

 Fig.19. W. -The painters displayed a large garuda sizing the head of Kala Nak.

The end of the west wall narrative.
It continues in the top register of the northern wall

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