Monday, April 19, 2010

Guardians and the like

This military guardian figure in blue is on guard duty outside the pagoda on top of Phnom Han Chey
On my recent visit to Kompong Cham, I came across a selection of guardians and the like that can form an intriguing part of any trip into the Cambodian countryside and to any pagoda, in trying to decipher what they mean or represent. On this occasion, I didn't have a knowledgeable Khmer companion with me so some of those shown here remain a mystery. Unless you know better.
Accompanied by his nearby lion, this military figure stands on the other side of the doorway to the pagoda
A popular figure on the ceilings inside many modern pagodas is Reahoo (or Rahu), usually found munching on the moon to cause an eclipse - not one of the nice guys.
And no self-respecting pagoda should be without its own Neak Ta Dambong Dek figure to ward off evil spirits
Wat Han Chey is also home to a room dedicated to 16 of Cambodia's most respected and revered monks
Another guardian at Wat Han Chey is this pretty tame female Pleated Gibbon character
At Wat Nokor, just inside the entrance to the main chamber, there are two standing Preah Noreay statues. They are part concrete and part original in my opinion, though I overheard 1 guide saying they were cement copies. This figure has 8 arms.
Here is the 2nd large Preah Noreay figure, with 4 arms, at Wat Nokor. Most of this figure is reproduction.
Finally, this small face, one of 40, peers out from the basalt wall of Kuk Preah Theat at Phnom Han Chey

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