Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Wat Bo: East wall, lower register

East wall, lower register                                                                                

This register must be read from right to left.

Fig.1.E. - The first mural of the lower register of the East wall shows Hanuman fighting Kumbhakarna on water. The Ramakien describes an episode of Kumbhakarna making a dam with his body to block the river water flowing to Rama’s army. After Kumphakan’s ploy had been foiled by Hanuman, Ravana ordered Kumbhakarna to lead out an army. However, in order to make sure to win the battle, he needed the magic lance he had once received from Brahma. In order to restore the weapon’s invincibility, Kumbhakarna initiated a magic rite to sharpen his weapon. To stop this, Vibhisana suggested that Hanuman transform into a decaying dog floating on the river, and Angada into a crow noisily feeding on the dog’s suppurating bowels (top part of panel). They floated past Kumbhakarna, irritating him with their stench and filth, disrupting his ceremony and breaking his lance (lower part of panel). 

Fig.2.E. - Only the upper part of the mural that follows is preserved, showing Kumbhakarna facing a figure in a small palace (left), which, following the reading of the Ramakien, would be Brahma, albeit with only one face and two arms, handing him the wonder spear; immediately to the right, he is seen holding the spear and grinding it on a stone to sharpen it, with Hanuman flying down to disrupt this effort (right).  
Fig.3.E.- The panel that follows has Ravana in his palace at Lanka giving orders to Saeng Athit, his nephew and holder of a magic glass-crystal with searing rays, to go to war.
Fig.4.E. – Seang Athit left for the battlefield on his war chariot pulled by a reacheasei.

Fig.5.E. – On light-blue background, Rama called a meeting of his generals (right) and gave directives to Lakshmana and his soldiers before going to the battle standing on his war chariot, followed by two generals. 
Fig.6.E. - The ensuing battle, which is depicted in the preceding panel, was a confused entanglement of monkeys and yak, with Rama emerging to fight Saeng Athit, a demon of the underworld, beating him with his bow (highest group of fighters)
Fig.7.E. –. To the top left Angada is painted floating above a pavilion before taking the form of Chitraphairi (the assistant of the demon Saeng Athit), to get the magic glass-crystal from Brahma. Having obtained it, he pay respect by kneeling in front of Brahma in his celestial pavilion. The magic glass ball (crystal) of Brahma could emit rays able to blind and burn the enemy. Brahma was taking care of it in heaven (see Ramakien of Rama I, Volume 3, 76-96).
Fig.7b.E. - Panoramic views of many events to be read from right to left
Fig.8.E. - This panel is difficult to interpret.  Having Angada succeeded in obtaining the magic glass from Brahmaf (to give to Rama) he gets involved in a dispute with Saeng Athit who wants the ‘glasses’ for himself (to give to Ravana). Angada firmly refuses (at the top of the white plaster part).
Fig.8b. - Accordingly, we can assume that the magic crystal-glass is the ‘waen kaeo’ in the Ramakien, renamed into ‘spectacles’ in the Khmer narrative. Therefore, the depiction of spectacles on the mural could result from 1) a joke by the painters painting glasses (spectacles) instead of a radiating glass-crystal; 2) a mistake in the reading by the painters since ‘crystal glass/globe’ the ‘waen kaeo’ in the Ramakien), could mean either glasses or crystal in the Khmer language; or 3) the fact that the painters followed the versions of Okna Veang Tiounn. The French term “lunettes” is also mentioned in the narrative of Mi Chak dealing with the death of Adity (Bizot 1997:102).
Fig.9.E. - On the next panel shows when Laksmana was hit in the foot by the magic spear of Kumbhakarna (top right). Hanuman is shown in the effort of trying to extract the spear from the foot, Lakshmana supported by Vibhishana, fainted falling inert on the ground. When. Rama arrived he also tried to extract the weapon, without result.
The end of the east wall narrative.
The narrative continues on the lower register of the South Wall

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