Never Seen Before Makara Statue Found in Cambodia

Never Seen Before Makara Statue Found in Cambodia


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In Cambodia, a magnificent but mysterious statue has been found in a forested area in a national park. The statue is of a mythical creature known as Makara. This discovery is like nothing else that has been found before and it is expected to throw light on the culture in Cambodia before the emergence of the Khmer Empire (800 AD to 1431 AD).

The amazing sculpted figure was found in Phnom Kulen National Park, which is in Siem Reap province. This area has many important temples, and the area holds a special place in the history of the Khmer Empire. The find was made by a local craftsman Chhim Samrithy, 38, who stated that, ‘I usually walk in the forest to look for some unique and sacred objects and suddenly spotted this rare statue,’ reports Archaeology News Network . He came across a massive head that had been carved into a rock and he immediately contacted local officials.

Cambodia’s Ministry of the Environment officials inspect the Makara statue. (Ministry of Environment / Khmer Times )

Ancient Makara sculpture

Officials and archaeologists were shown the location of the find and they began to survey the object and its context. Only the head portion of the statue was found and most of the body appears to be missing. The head is substantial - approximately 6 feet (2.14 meters) long and 3 feet (1m) high. Chhim SaImrithy and others began to search for the missing pieces of the sculpture. In total, some 13 pieces of the body of the sculpture were found. Experts estimate that the figure dates to the 6 th century AD, sometime before the foundation of the Khmer Empire, best known for its astonishing capital Angor Wat.

The had been made by carving sandstone and the head is still in good condition. The director of the Provincial Department of the Environment, Sun Kong told the Khmer Times ‘we have not yet statue moved the body parts or excavated the head from the site’. Park officials have been ordered to guard the site until it can be further investigated by researchers and to protect the site from looters and thieves.

The statue has so far been left in situ. (Ministry of Environment / Khmer Times )

Makara - Mythical Sea Beast

The experts quickly identified the statue as being a representation of Makara , a mythical sea creature, that often features in Indian Vedic literature. It was often ridden by the Hindu sea-god. Makara, which is typically portrayed with a crocodile head, often symbolized the intellect. The fabled creature was often used to illustrate how reason can overcome fears.

Statues of Makara are very common in many parts of the south and south-east Asia. They are often found at the entrance of Hindu and Buddhist temples and are a symbol of self-sufficiency. In Indian astronomy, a Makara is often the symbol of Capricorn and represents the restless spirit of Capricorns.

The sculpture of the mythical creature from Hindu legend in Cambodia is evidence of the deep influence of Indian culture on the region. Indian merchants and missionaries brought Hinduism and Buddhism to what is now Cambodia, from approximately 200 BC. This played a major role in the development of local societies and later the establishment of the Khmer Empire.

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Mysterious Makara statue

Mr. Kong is quoted by Archaeology News Network as saying that, ‘According to the experts, this Makara animal statue is one that we have never seen before’. Moreover, there is no evidence of any temple or shrine in the area. Typically, representations of Makara are only found in sacred or royal sites. It appears that the statue was carved out of the rock in the middle of an uninhabited area, for reasons that are not known. The mysterious Makara may yet throw light on the society of ancient Cambodia that preceded the emergence of the Khmer.

The find is being treated as a major one in Cambodia. It is also demonstrating the archaeological potential of Phnom Kulen National Park . Long Kosal, a spokesperson with Apsara Authority stated that if people in the park, ‘find ancient objects, please report to the authorities for research to be done to preserve them for future generations’ according to the Khmer Times .

Further investigations of the site are expected as well as efforts to preserve the remarkable statue for the people of Cambodia.


Ancient statue found carved in rock in Siem Reap

Siem Reap Provincial Environment Department officials and archaeologists are conducting research on a large Makara animal statue carved on a rock at the Phnom Kulen National Park in Siem Reap province’s Svay Loeu district.

Provincial Department of Environment director Sun Kong said yesterday the head portion of the broken statue was found by a resident on Saturday and the officials went to inspect the site on Sunday.

He added that the statue was made of sandstone during the sixth century and the body was broken into pieces, noting that officials found 13 pieces of the body nearby the site.

Mr. Kong said: “According to the experts, this Makara animal statue is one that we have never seen before. It is approximately 2.14 metres in length and about 0.97 metres high. We have not yet moved the body parts or excavated the head from the site and have told park rangers in the area to guard it in order for officials from relevant ministries and institutions to come and study in detail about the site’s history and reconstruct the pieces.”

He noted that experts have not found a foundation of any temple at the site and believe it was just carved out on the rock.

Chhim Samrithy, 38, a craftsman from the province who discovered the statue, said yesterday he spotted it on Saturday while searching for bamboo. “I usually walk in the forest to look for some unique and sacred objects and suddenly spotted this rare statue,” he said. “After seeing it, I took environmental officials and archaeologists to the site and also helped to find some of the missing pieces of the statue.”

Long Kosal, Apsara Authority spokesman, said that the authorities’ archeologists visited the site yesterday and will conduct additional studies to add it to the records.

He said: “The Kulen National Park area is rich in ancient artifacts, both above and below the ground. Therefore, I urge people, especially those living in the area, to avoid excavating or clearing archeological sites. If they find ancient objects, please report to the authorities for research to be done to preserve them for future generations.”


Ancient statue of fearsome sea monster discovered deep in jungle

An ancient statue of a legendary sea monster has been discovered carved into a rock and hidden deep in a jungle.

Craftsman Chhim Samrithy, 38, found the 1,500-year-old statue of Makara, a sea-creature in Hindu mythology, at a national park in the north-western Cambodian province of Siem Reap.

Provincial environment director Sun Kong confirmed the discovery and said that Samrithy found the head portion of the broken statue on 18th January.

Experts visited the site the next day and said it was made in the sixth century from sandstone.

They reportedly collected 13 sections of the statue’s body from around the site.

Kong said: “According to the experts, this Makara statue is one that we have not seen before. It is approximately 2.14 metres in length and about 0.97 metres high.

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“We haven’t yet moved the body parts or excavated the head from the scene and we instructed park rangers in the area to guard it.”

He added that a team of specialists will reconstruct the pieces and study them in detail soon.

According to Kong, archaeologists did not find the foundations for a temple in the area and it is believed the statue was simply carved out of a large rock.

Samrithy, who discovered the statue, told local media: “I usually walk in the forest to look for some unique and sacred objects and suddenly spotted this rare statue.

Read More
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“After finding it, I took environmental officials and archaeologists to the site and also helped to find some of the statue’s missing pieces.”

The local authorities said in a statement: “The Phnom Kulen National Park is rich in ancient artefacts, both above and below the ground.

“Therefore, I urge people, especially those living in the area, to avoid excavating or clearing archaeological sites.

“If they find ancient objects, please report it to the authorities for research to be done to preserve them for future generations.”


Contents

Makara is a Sanskrit word which means "sea-animal, crocodile". [2] It is the origin of the Hindi word for crocodile, मगर (magar), which has in turn been loaned into English as the name of the Mugger crocodile, the most common crocodile in India. [3]

Josef Friedrich Kohl of Würzburg University and several German scientists claimed that makara is based on dugong instead, based on his reading of Jain text of Sūryaprajñapti. [4] [5] [6] The South Asian river dolphin may also have contributed to the image of the makara. In Tibetan it is called the "chu-srin", [7] and also denotes a hybrid creature. [8]

It is generally depicted as half terrestrial animal in the frontal part (stag, deer, or elephant) and half aquatic animal in the hind part (usually of a fish, a seal, or a snake, though sometimes a peacock or even a floral tail is depicted). Though Makara may take many different forms throughout Hindu culture, in the modern world, its form is always related to the marsh crocodile or water monitor.

According to an art historian, John Boardman, depictions of Makara and Chinese Dragon might have been influenced by Kētos in Greek Mythology, possibly after contact with silk-road images of the Kētos. [9]

During the Vedic times when Indra was the God of heaven, Varuna (the Vedic water god) became the God of the seas and rode on makara, which was called "the water monster vehicle". [10] [11]

Makara has been depicted typically as half mammal and half fish. In many temples, the depiction is in the form of half fish or seal with head of an elephant. It is also shown in an anthropomorphic (abstract form) with head and jaws of a crocodile, an elephant trunk with scales of fish and a peacock tail. Lakshmi sitting on a lotus is also a depiction in which she pulls the tongue of the elephant shaped makara is meant to project Lakshmi's image as the goddess of prosperity, wealth and well being. [8] [3] [12] It represents a necessary state of chaos before the emergence of a new state of order. [8]

Makara is also the emblem of Kamadeva, the god of love and desire. Kamadeva is also known as 'Makara-Ketu' which means "having the makara for an emblem". It is the tenth sign of the Zodiac, called rāśi in Sanskrit, which is equivalent to the zodiacal sign of Capricorn (goat symbol). [10]

Pradyuma Makaradhvaja Edit

From the 2nd century BCE, the Makara appears to have been the symbol of Pradyumna, son of Vāsudeva Krishna. One of the epithets of Pradyumna in literature, such as in Harivamsa 99, is "Makaradhvaja", meaning "he whose banner or standard is the crocodile". [19] A pillar capital with the effigy of a Makara crocodile found at Besnagar near the Heliodorus pillar dedicated to Vasudeva, is also attributed to Pradyumna. [19] In the Mahabarata too, the Makara is associated with Krishna's son and Kamadeva, the God of Love, suggesting they are identical. [19]

Later Hindu iconography Edit

In Hindu iconography, Makara is represented as the vahana ('vehicle') of Ganga, the river goddess. A row of makara may run along the wall of a Hindu temple, act as the hand rail of a staircase, or form an arch above a doorway. [3]

The leading Hindu temple architect and builder Ganapati Sthapati describes Makara as a mythical animal with the body of a fish, trunk of an elephant, feet of a lion, eyes of a monkey, ears of a pig, and the tail of a peacock. [3] A more succinct explanation is provided: "An ancient mythological symbol, the hybrid creature is formed from a number of animals such that collectively possess the nature of a crocodile. It has the lower jaw of a crocodile, the snout or trunk of an elephant, the tusks and ears of a wild boar, the darting eyes of a monkey, the scales and the flexible body of a fish, and the swirling tailing feathers of a peacock." [10]

Traditionally, a makara is considered to be an aquatic mythical creature. Makara has been depicted typically as half mammal and half fish. Some traditional accounts identify it with a crocodile, specifically the Mugger because of its etymological roots. It is depicted with the forequarters of an elephant and the hindquarters as a fish tail. Crocodile was also a form which was used in the earlier days which was shown with human body. [3] [20]

In many temples, the depiction is in the form of half fish or seal with head of an elephant. It is also shown with head and jaws resembling a crocodile, an elephant trunk with scales of fish and a peacock tail. [8] Other accounts identify it with Gangetic dolphin having striking resemblances with the latter, now found mainly in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. Others portray it as a fish body with an elephant's head. The tradition identifies the makara with water, the source of all existence and fertility. [3]

In the medieval era of South India, Makara was shown as a fifth stage of development, symbolized in the form of an elephant head and body with an elaborately foliated fish tail. Most myths maintain this symbolism of this stage in the evolution of life. [12] (Note makara in fifth row of animistic carvings in temple wall at right.)

In a Hindu temple, the Makara often serves as the structural bookends of a thoranam or archway around a deity. The arch emerges up from the jaws of one Makara, rises to its peak, the Kirtimukha (the 'Face of Glory'), and descends into the gaping jaws of another Makara. Varuna is also depicted as a white man sitting on the monster makara. As a marine monster, it is also shown with the head and legs of an antelope, and the body and tail of a fish. [21] A makara made in iron shows the monster in the form of half stag and half fish. [22] These elements are variously joined to form one of the most common recurring themes in Indian temple iconography. In Indian art, the makara finds expression in the form of many motifs, and has been portrayed in different styles. Makara figures are placed on the entry points (Toranas) of several Buddhist monuments, including the stupa of Sanchi, a world heritage site. It is found guarding the entrances to royal thrones (see Distribution below). [3]

In the Tibetan Buddhist format it evolved from the Indian form of makara. However, it is different in some ways such as, "display of lions fore paws, a horse's mane, the gills and tendrils of a fish, and the horns of a deer or dragon. From its once simple fishtail, sometimes feathered, now emerges as a complex spiraling floral pattern known as makara-tail design (Sanskritmakaraketu)". [10]

In Tibetan iconography, it is depicted in the Vajrayana as a weapon of strength and tenacity. The Vajrayan weapons which have makara symbolism are: axe, iron hook, curved knife, vajra, and ritual dagger, in all of which the theme is "emergence of the blade from the open mouth of the makara". [10]

Its symbolic representation in the form of a makara head at the corner of temple roofs is as water element which also functions as a "rainwater spout or gargoyle". It is also seen as water spouts at the source of a spring. The artistic carving in stone is in the form of identical pair of makaras flanked by two Nāgas (snake gods) along with a crown of Garuda, which is called the kirtimukha face. Such depictions are also seen at the entrance of wooden doorways as the top arch and also as a torana behind Buddha's images. [10]

The Newa art of Nepal uses this depiction extensively. In Newar architecture, its depiction is "as guardian of gateways, the makara image appears on the curved prongs of the vast crossed-vajra that encompasses the four gateways of the two-dimensional mandala. Of the three dimensional-mandala this crossed-vajra supports the whole structure of the mandala palace symbolizing the immovable stability of the vajra-ground on which it stands." [10]

The temples of ancient Java is notable with the application of kala-makara as both decorative and symbolic elements of temple architecture. Kala is the giant head, often took place on the top of the entrance with makaras projected on either sides of kala's head flanking the portal or projecting on top corner as antefixes. Kala-makara theme also can be found on stairs railings on either sides. On upper part of stairs, the mouth of kala's head projecting makara downward. The intricate stone carving of twin makaras flanking the lower level of stairs with its bodies forming the stair's railings. These types of stairs decorations can be observed in Borobudur and Prambanan temples. Makara's trunks are often describes as handling gold ornaments or spouting jewels, while in its mouth often projected Gana dwarf figures or animals such as lions or parrots.

Makaras are also a characteristic motif of the religious Khmer architecture of the Angkor region of Cambodia which was the capital of the Khmer Empire. Makaras are usually part of the decorative carving on a lintel, tympanum, or wall. Makaras are usually depicted with another symbolic animal, such as a lion, naga or serpent, emerging from its gaping open mouth. Makara are a central design motif in the beautiful lintels of the Roluos group of temples: Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei. At Banteay Srei, carvings of makaras disgorging other monsters were installed on many of the buildings' corners. [23]

Vishnu's earrings are shown in the form of Makara [8] but makarakundala can also decorate Shiva's ears. [24] Its contemporary usage is as ornaments in the form of bracelets in hollow silver ware inlaid with jewels for eyes and ears, which is given as a wedding gift to the bride. Some traditional account also links the Makara to the Water Monitor as both has body parts (example: jaws, meat etc.) which are stated to possess aphrodisiac properties [12]

Stone sculptures of the mythological Makara and its ancient place in the iconography of Hinduism and Buddhism are widely spread throughout South Asia and Southeast Asia. Examples from ten countries are shown below:


Contents

Makara is a Sanskrit word which means "sea-animal, crocodile". [2] It is the origin of the Hindi word for crocodile, मगर (magar), which has in turn been loaned into English as the name of the Mugger crocodile, the most common crocodile in India. [3]

Josef Friedrich Kohl of Würzburg University and several German scientists claimed that makara is based on dugong instead, based on his reading of Jain text of Sūryaprajñapti. [4] [5] [6] The South Asian river dolphin may also have contributed to the image of the makara. In Tibetan it is called the "chu-srin", [7] and also denotes a hybrid creature. [8]

It is generally depicted as half terrestrial animal in the frontal part (stag, deer, or elephant) and half aquatic animal in the hind part (usually of a fish, a seal, or a snake, though sometimes a peacock or even a floral tail is depicted). Though Makara may take many different forms throughout Hindu culture, in the modern world, its form is always related to the marsh crocodile or water monitor.

According to an art historian, John Boardman, depictions of Makara and Chinese Dragon might have been influenced by Kētos in Greek Mythology, possibly after contact with silk-road images of the Kētos. [9]

During the Vedic times when Indra was the God of heaven, Varuna (the Vedic water god) became the God of the seas and rode on makara, which was called "the water monster vehicle". [10] [11]

Makara has been depicted typically as half mammal and half fish. In many temples, the depiction is in the form of half fish or seal with head of an elephant. It is also shown in an anthropomorphic (abstract form) with head and jaws of a crocodile, an elephant trunk with scales of fish and a peacock tail. Lakshmi sitting on a lotus is also a depiction in which she pulls the tongue of the elephant shaped makara is meant to project Lakshmi's image as the goddess of prosperity, wealth and well being. [8] [3] [12] It represents a necessary state of chaos before the emergence of a new state of order. [8]

Makara is also the emblem of Kamadeva, the god of love and desire. Kamadeva is also known as 'Makara-Ketu' which means "having the makara for an emblem". It is the tenth sign of the Zodiac, called rāśi in Sanskrit, which is equivalent to the zodiacal sign of Capricorn (goat symbol). [10]

Pradyuma Makaradhvaja Edit

From the 2nd century BCE, the Makara appears to have been the symbol of Pradyumna, son of Vāsudeva Krishna. One of the epithets of Pradyumna in literature, such as in Harivamsa 99, is "Makaradhvaja", meaning "he whose banner or standard is the crocodile". [19] A pillar capital with the effigy of a Makara crocodile found at Besnagar near the Heliodorus pillar dedicated to Vasudeva, is also attributed to Pradyumna. [19] In the Mahabarata too, the Makara is associated with Krishna's son and Kamadeva, the God of Love, suggesting they are identical. [19]

Later Hindu iconography Edit

In Hindu iconography, Makara is represented as the vahana ('vehicle') of Ganga, the river goddess. A row of makara may run along the wall of a Hindu temple, act as the hand rail of a staircase, or form an arch above a doorway. [3]

The leading Hindu temple architect and builder Ganapati Sthapati describes Makara as a mythical animal with the body of a fish, trunk of an elephant, feet of a lion, eyes of a monkey, ears of a pig, and the tail of a peacock. [3] A more succinct explanation is provided: "An ancient mythological symbol, the hybrid creature is formed from a number of animals such that collectively possess the nature of a crocodile. It has the lower jaw of a crocodile, the snout or trunk of an elephant, the tusks and ears of a wild boar, the darting eyes of a monkey, the scales and the flexible body of a fish, and the swirling tailing feathers of a peacock." [10]

Traditionally, a makara is considered to be an aquatic mythical creature. Makara has been depicted typically as half mammal and half fish. Some traditional accounts identify it with a crocodile, specifically the Mugger because of its etymological roots. It is depicted with the forequarters of an elephant and the hindquarters as a fish tail. Crocodile was also a form which was used in the earlier days which was shown with human body. [3] [20]

In many temples, the depiction is in the form of half fish or seal with head of an elephant. It is also shown with head and jaws resembling a crocodile, an elephant trunk with scales of fish and a peacock tail. [8] Other accounts identify it with Gangetic dolphin having striking resemblances with the latter, now found mainly in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. Others portray it as a fish body with an elephant's head. The tradition identifies the makara with water, the source of all existence and fertility. [3]

In the medieval era of South India, Makara was shown as a fifth stage of development, symbolized in the form of an elephant head and body with an elaborately foliated fish tail. Most myths maintain this symbolism of this stage in the evolution of life. [12] (Note makara in fifth row of animistic carvings in temple wall at right.)

In a Hindu temple, the Makara often serves as the structural bookends of a thoranam or archway around a deity. The arch emerges up from the jaws of one Makara, rises to its peak, the Kirtimukha (the 'Face of Glory'), and descends into the gaping jaws of another Makara. Varuna is also depicted as a white man sitting on the monster makara. As a marine monster, it is also shown with the head and legs of an antelope, and the body and tail of a fish. [21] A makara made in iron shows the monster in the form of half stag and half fish. [22] These elements are variously joined to form one of the most common recurring themes in Indian temple iconography. In Indian art, the makara finds expression in the form of many motifs, and has been portrayed in different styles. Makara figures are placed on the entry points (Toranas) of several Buddhist monuments, including the stupa of Sanchi, a world heritage site. It is found guarding the entrances to royal thrones (see Distribution below). [3]

In the Tibetan Buddhist format it evolved from the Indian form of makara. However, it is different in some ways such as, "display of lions fore paws, a horse's mane, the gills and tendrils of a fish, and the horns of a deer or dragon. From its once simple fishtail, sometimes feathered, now emerges as a complex spiraling floral pattern known as makara-tail design (Sanskritmakaraketu)". [10]

In Tibetan iconography, it is depicted in the Vajrayana as a weapon of strength and tenacity. The Vajrayan weapons which have makara symbolism are: axe, iron hook, curved knife, vajra, and ritual dagger, in all of which the theme is "emergence of the blade from the open mouth of the makara". [10]

Its symbolic representation in the form of a makara head at the corner of temple roofs is as water element which also functions as a "rainwater spout or gargoyle". It is also seen as water spouts at the source of a spring. The artistic carving in stone is in the form of identical pair of makaras flanked by two Nāgas (snake gods) along with a crown of Garuda, which is called the kirtimukha face. Such depictions are also seen at the entrance of wooden doorways as the top arch and also as a torana behind Buddha's images. [10]

The Newa art of Nepal uses this depiction extensively. In Newar architecture, its depiction is "as guardian of gateways, the makara image appears on the curved prongs of the vast crossed-vajra that encompasses the four gateways of the two-dimensional mandala. Of the three dimensional-mandala this crossed-vajra supports the whole structure of the mandala palace symbolizing the immovable stability of the vajra-ground on which it stands." [10]

The temples of ancient Java is notable with the application of kala-makara as both decorative and symbolic elements of temple architecture. Kala is the giant head, often took place on the top of the entrance with makaras projected on either sides of kala's head flanking the portal or projecting on top corner as antefixes. Kala-makara theme also can be found on stairs railings on either sides. On upper part of stairs, the mouth of kala's head projecting makara downward. The intricate stone carving of twin makaras flanking the lower level of stairs with its bodies forming the stair's railings. These types of stairs decorations can be observed in Borobudur and Prambanan temples. Makara's trunks are often describes as handling gold ornaments or spouting jewels, while in its mouth often projected Gana dwarf figures or animals such as lions or parrots.

Makaras are also a characteristic motif of the religious Khmer architecture of the Angkor region of Cambodia which was the capital of the Khmer Empire. Makaras are usually part of the decorative carving on a lintel, tympanum, or wall. Makaras are usually depicted with another symbolic animal, such as a lion, naga or serpent, emerging from its gaping open mouth. Makara are a central design motif in the beautiful lintels of the Roluos group of temples: Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei. At Banteay Srei, carvings of makaras disgorging other monsters were installed on many of the buildings' corners. [23]

Vishnu's earrings are shown in the form of Makara [8] but makarakundala can also decorate Shiva's ears. [24] Its contemporary usage is as ornaments in the form of bracelets in hollow silver ware inlaid with jewels for eyes and ears, which is given as a wedding gift to the bride. Some traditional account also links the Makara to the Water Monitor as both has body parts (example: jaws, meat etc.) which are stated to possess aphrodisiac properties [12]

Stone sculptures of the mythological Makara and its ancient place in the iconography of Hinduism and Buddhism are widely spread throughout South Asia and Southeast Asia. Examples from ten countries are shown below:


Ancient Sea Monster Found Carved Into Rock In Jungle

Picture Credit: AsiaWire/Ministry of Environment Cambodia

A man strolling in the jungle has found a 1,500-year-old statue of a legendary sea creature carved into a large rock.

According to local media, craftsman Chhim Samrithy, 38, found the statue of Makara, a legendary sea-creature in Hindu mythology, in the Phnom Kulen National Park in the district of Svay Leu located in the north-western Cambodian province of Siem Reap.

Provincial environment director Sun Kong confirmed the discovery and said that Samrithy found the head portion of the broken statue on 18th January.

Experts visited the site the next day and said the statue was made in the sixth century from sandstone.

They reportedly collected 13 sections of the statue’s body from around the site.

Kong said: “According to the experts, this Makara statue is one that we have not seen before. It is approximately 2.14 metres in length and about 0.97 metres high.

“We haven’t yet moved the body parts or excavated the head from the scene and we instructed park rangers in the area to guard it.”

Picture Credit: AsiaWire/Ministry of Environment Cambodia

He added that a team of specialists will reconstruct the pieces and study them in detail soon.

According to Kong, archaeologists did not find the foundations for a temple in the area and it is believed the statue was simply carved out of a large rock.

Samrithy, who discovered the statue, told local media: “I usually walk in the forest to look for some unique and sacred objects and suddenly spotted this rare statue.

“After finding it, I took environmental officials and archaeologists to the site and also helped to find some of the statue’s missing pieces.”

The local authorities said in a statement: “The Phnom Kulen National Park is rich in ancient artefacts, both above and below the ground.

“Therefore, I urge people, especially those living in the area, to avoid excavating or clearing archaeological sites. If they find ancient objects, please report it to the authorities for research to be done to preserve them for future generations.”

Picture Credit: AsiaWire/Ministry of Environment Cambodia

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Contents

First depictions Edit

The earliest known cave paintings of lions were found in the Chauvet Cave and in Lascaux in France's Ardèche region and represent some of the earliest paleolithic cave art, dating to between 32,000 and 15,000 years ago. [1] [2] The zoomorphic Löwenmensch figurine from Hohlenstein-Stadel and the ivory carving of a lion's head from Vogelherd Cave in the Swabian Jura in southwestern Germany were carbon-dated 39,000 years old, dating from the Aurignacian culture. [3]

Bronze Age Europe Edit

A Bronze Age statue of a lion from either southern Italy or southern Spain from c. 1000–1200 years BC, the "Mari-Cha Lion", was put on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. [4]

Ancient Egypt Edit

The earliest tomb paintings in Ancient Egypt, at Nekhen, c. 3500 BC, classified as Naqada, possibly Gerzeh, culture include images of lions, including an image of a human (or deity) flanked by two lions in an upright posture. Among ancient Egyptians, from prehistoric times through well documented records, the war goddess Sekhmet, a lioness, [5] later depicted as woman with a lioness head, was one of their major deities. She was a sun deity as well as a fierce warrior and protector. Usually she was assigned significant roles in the natural environment. The Egyptians held that this sacred lioness was responsible for the annual flooding of the Nile, [5] the most significant contributing factor to the success of the culture. Sometimes with regional differences in names, a lioness deity was the patron and protector of the people, the king, and the land. As the country united, a blending of those deities was assigned to Sekhmet. [ citation needed ]

Similar regional lioness deities assumed minor roles in the pantheon or, when so significant in a region, continued local religious observance in their own right, such as Bast. Offspring of these deities found niches in the expanding pantheon as well. [ citation needed ]

During the New Kingdom the Nubian gods Maahes (god of war and protection and the son of Bast) and Dedun (god of incense, hence luxury and wealth) were depicted as lions. Maahes was absorbed into the Egyptian pantheon, and had a temple at the city the invading Greeks called Leontopolis, "City of Lions", at the delta in Lower Egypt. His temple was attached to the major temple of his mother, Bast. Dedun was not absorbed into the Ancient Egyptian religion and remained a Nubian deity. [ citation needed ]

Bast, originally depicted as a lioness and the "eye of Ra" in the delta region, [5] was the parallel deity to Sekhmet in the southern region. Her nature gradually changed after the unification of the country and Sekhmet prevailed throughout. At that time Bast changed into the goddess of personal protection with different responsibilities, and often was depicted as a very tame lioness or a cat. She is shown to the left atop an alabaster jar that contained precious oils and lotions. The name of the stone probably bears her named because materials sacred to her usually were stored in it.. [ citation needed ]

The sphinx of Ancient Egypt shows the head and shoulders of a human and the body of a lioness. The statues represents Sekhmet, who was the protector of the pharaohs. Later pharaohs were depicted as sphinxes, being thought as the offspring of the deity. [ citation needed ]

Ancient Mesopotamia Edit

In ancient Mesopotamia, the lion was regarded as a symbol of kingship. [6] Depictions of the Mesopotamian lion show that it was an important symbol of Ancient Iraq. It is depicted in Ninevan reliefs. [7] The lion of Babylon is a statue at the Ishtar Gate in Babylon [8] The lion has an important association with the figure Gilgamesh, as demonstrated in his epic. [9] The Iraqi national football team is nicknamed "Lions of Mesopotamia." [10] Sculptures and reliefs of the Neo-Assyrian Empire dating to the 6th and 7th centuries BC were rediscovered and excavated in the mid 19th century. Several reliefs feature lions, including the Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal. [11] A well-known detail of this relief is The Dying Lioness depicting a half-paralyzed lioness pierced with arrows. Other Assyrian palace reliefs from this era depict dozens of lions being hunted, originally in an Assyrian royal palace in Nineveh, located in modern-day Iraq. The Babylonian goddess Ishtar was represented driving a chariot drawn by seven lions. [5] Ishtar's Sumerian analogue Inanna was frequently depicted standing on the backs of two lionesses.

Ancient depictions often described as "panthers" because of no mane, in fact, are lionesses and may be identified easily by the distinctive tip of their tails that artists familiar with their subject, correctly portrayed. [ citation needed ]

Ancient sculptures Edit

Lions have been widely used in sculpture to provide a sense of majesty and awe, especially on public buildings. Lions were bold creatures and many ancient cities would have an abundance of lion sculptures to show strength in numbers as well. [12] [13] This usage dates back to the origin of civilization. [14] There are lions at the entrances of cities and sacred sites from Mesopotamian cultures notable examples include the Lion Gate of ancient Mycenae in Greece that has two lionesses flanking a column that represents a deity, [15] and the gates in the walls of the Hittite city of Bogazköy, Turkey. [13] The "Lion of Menecrates" is a funerary statue of a crouching lioness, found near the cenotaph of Menecrates. [ citation needed ] The lion is by a famous Corinthian sculptor of Archaic Greece, end of the seventh century BC, and is now in the Archaeological Museum of Corfu. [ citation needed ]

Iran Edit

Lions are depicted on vases dating to about 2600 before present that were excavated near Lake Urmia. [16] In Iranian mythology, the lion is a symbol of courage and monarchy. It is portrayed standing beside the kings in artifacts and sitting on the graves of knights. Imperial seals were also decorated with carved lions. The lion and sun motif is based largely on astronomical configurations, and the ancient zodiacal sign of the sun in the house of Leo. Lion and sun is a symbol of royalty in Iranian flag and coins. Goddess Anahita was sometimes shown standing on a lion. Lion is also title of the fourth grade of mithraism. [17]

Lions have been extensively used in ancient Persia as sculptures and on the walls of palaces, in fire temples, tombs, on dishes and jewellery especially during the Achaemenid Empire. The gates were adorned with lions. [18]

Classical period Edit

Several discoveries of lion bones in Greece, the Ukraine and the Balkans have confirmed that lions lived there certainly from 5th millennium BC till the 6th century BC, while according to the written sources they survived up to perhaps the 1st or even the 4th century AD, which was previously only a suspicion by some archaeologists. [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] Thus the strong emphasis on lions in the earliest figurative Greek art, especially that of Mycenaean Greece from around 1600-1400 BC, reflected the world in which Greeks lived, rather than being based on stories from further east, as once thought. [26]

Lionesses often flanked the Gorgon, a vestige of the earliest Greek protective deity that often was featured atop temples of later eras. The western pediment from the Artemis Temple of Corfu is a well preserved example. The most notable lion of Ancient Greek mythology was the Nemean lion, killed barehanded by Heracles, who subsequently bore the pelt as an invulnerable magic cloak. [27]

This lion is also said to be represented by the constellation of Leo, and also the sign of the Zodiac. Lions are known in many cultures as the king of animals, which can be traced to the Babylonian Talmud, [28] and to the classical book Physiologus. In his fables, the famed Greek story teller Aesop used the lion's symbolism of power and strength in The Lion and the Mouse and Lion's Share. [ citation needed ]

Since classical antiquity, a Gaetulian lion in literature is a lion of fierce reputation. Gaetulia, in ancient geography, was the land of the Gaetuli, a warlike tribe of ancient Libya that appears in Virgil's Aeneid (19 BC). [29] The Gaetulia lion appears in Odes of Horace (23 BC), [30] Pliny the Elder's Natural History (77 AD), [31] Philostratus's Life of Apollonius of Tyana (c. 215), [32] Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes (1879). [33]

In Socrates' model of the psyche (as described by Plato), the bestial, selfish nature of humanity is described metaphorically as a lion, the "leontomorphic principle". [34]

Biblical references and Jewish-Christian tradition Edit

Several Biblical accounts document the presence of lions, and cultural perception of them in ancient Israel. The best known Biblical account featuring lions comes from the Book of Daniel (chapter 6), where Daniel is thrown into a den of lions and miraculously survives. [ citation needed ]

A lesser known Biblical account features Samson who kills a lion with his bare hands, later sees bees nesting in its carcass, and poses a riddle based on this unusual incident to test the faithfulness of his fiancée (Judges 14). The prophet Amos said (Amos, 3, 8): "The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?", i.e., when the gift of prophecy comes upon a person, he has no choice but to speak out. [ citation needed ]

The lion is one of the living creatures in the Book of Ezekiel. They were represented in the tetramorph.

In 1 Peter 5:8, the Devil is compared to a roaring lion "seeking someone to devour." [35] [36]

In Christian tradition, Mark the Evangelist, the author of the second gospel is symbolized by the lion of Saint Mark – a figure of courage and monarchy. It also represents Jesus' Resurrection (because lions were believed to sleep with open eyes, a comparison with Christ in the tomb), and Christ as king. Some Christian legends refer to Saint Mark as "Saint Mark the Lionhearted". Legends say that he was fed to the lions and the animals refused to attack or eat him. Instead the lions slept at his feet, while he petted them. When the Romans saw this, they released him, spooked by the sight.

The lion is the biblical emblem of the tribe of Judah and later the Kingdom of Judah. [37] It is contained within Jacob's blessing to his fourth son in the penultimate chapter of the Book of Genesis, "Judah is a lion's whelp On prey, my son have you grown. He crouches, lies down like a lion, like the king of beasts—who dare rouse him?" (Genesis 49:9 [38] ). In the modern state of Israel, the lion remains the symbol of the capital city of Jerusalem, emblazoned on both the flag and coat of arms of the city. [ citation needed ]

Late antiquity mysticism Edit

In gnostic traditions, the Demiurge is depicted as a lion-faced figure ("leontoeides"). The gnostic concept of the Demiurge is usually that of a malevolent, petty creator of the physical realm, a false deity responsible for human misery and the gross matter than traps the spiritual essence of the soul, and thus an "animal-like" nature. As a lion-headed figure, the Demiurge is associated with devouring flames, [39] destroying the souls of humans after they die, as well as with arrogance and callousness. [40]

A lion-faced figurine is usually associated with the Mithraic mysteries. Without any known parallel in classical, Egyptian, or middle-eastern art, [41] what this figure is meant to represent currently is unknown. Some have interpreted it to be a representation of Ahriman, [42] of the aforementioned gnostic Demiurge, [43] or of some similar malevolent, tyrannical entity, but it has also been interpreted as some sort of time or season deity, [44] or even a more positive symbol of enlightenment and spiritual transcendence. [45]

Winged sphinx with body of lioness from the palace of Darius the Great at Susa

Samson and the lions, Saint Trophime Church Portal (12th century)

A lion at the side of King Alfonso IX of Leon, from the Tumbo A cartulary of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

A Hyrcanian Achaemenid golden cup depicting lions without manes and fully exposed ears in the sculpted heads used as handles, but manes suggested in engraving on the body. Dated first half of first millennium. Excavated at Kalardasht in Mazandaran, Iran.

Samson's Fight with the Lion, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1525

A peaceful lion in Pietro da Cortona's depiction of the Golden Age

Gold embroidered lion on saddle pad from 1670 that belonged to King Charles XI of Sweden

Arthurian legend Edit

In a key scene of Yvain, the Knight of the Lion (French: Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion), a romance by Chrétien de Troyes, the hero is depicted as rescuing a lion from a serpent. Subsequently, the lion proves to be a loyal companion and a symbol of knightly virtue, and helps Yvain complete his altruistic ventures. In the happy end, the lion comes to dwell with Yvain and his wife Laudine at their castle. [ citation needed ]

One of the four lions in Trafalgar Square, London, by Landseer at the base of Nelson's Column

The Lion Monument in Lucerne, Switzerland, commemorates the sacrifice of the Swiss Guards at the Tuileries in 1792.

Islamic traditions Edit

In Middle Eastern culture, both Arab and Persian, the lion is regarded as the symbol of courage, bravery, royalty, and chivalry. The Middle Eastern depiction of lions are derived from earlier Mesopotamian Babylonian and Persian arts. Islamic art commonly manifests its aesthetic elements predominantly in Islamic calligraphy, floral, and geometric decorative patterns, since Islamic religious tradition discourages the depictions of humans and living creatures (animals) in its sculpture. Through Persian arts miniatures and paintings, however, the depictions of humans and animals survives. In Muslim Spain period, the lion court of Alhambra palace displays the lion statues as supporters and waterspout of fountain. [ citation needed ]

"Aslan" or "Arslan" (Ottoman ارسلان arslān and اصلان aṣlān) is the Turkish and Mongolian word for "lion". It was used as a title by a number of Seljuk and Ottoman rulers, including Alp Arslan and Ali Pasha, and is a Turkic name. [ citation needed ]

Hindu-Buddhist traditions Edit

The lion symbolism and its cultural depictions can be found in Hindu and Buddhist art of India and Southeast Asia. The lion symbolism in India was based upon Asiatic lions that once spread in Indian subcontinent as far as the Middle East.

South Asia Edit

Neolithic cave paintings of lions were found in Bhimbetka rock shelters in central India, which are at least 30,000 years old. [46]

Narasimha ("man-lion"), also spelt Narasingh, Narasinga, is described as an incarnation (Avatara) of Vishnu in the Puranic texts of Hinduism. It is worshiped as "Lion God" and considered sacred by all Hindus in India.

Lions are also found in Buddhist symbolism. Lion pillars erected during the reign of Emperor Ashoka show lions and the chakra emblem. The lions depicted in the Lion Capital of Ashoka inspired artists who designed the Emblem of India.

Singh is an ancient Indian vedic name meaning "lion", dating more than 2,000 years ago to ancient India. It was originally only used by Rajputs, a Hindu Kshatriya or military caste in India. After the birth of the Khalsa brotherhood in 1699, the Sikhs also adopted the name "Singh" due to the wishes of Guru Gobind Singh. Along with millions of Hindu Rajputs and numerous other Hindu martial groups today, it is also used by more than 20 million Sikhs worldwide. [47] [48] The appellation of the name Singh was used by the Rajputs before being adopted by the Sikhs in 1699. [49] Therefore, all "Singh"s in Indian history before 1699 are Hindu and mainly Rajputs. The lion also features as the carrier or the vehicle of Durga, the Hindu goddess of war, worshipped in and around the Bengal region.

The lion is symbolic for the Sinhalese, Sri Lanka's ethnic majority the term derived from the Indo-Aryan Sinhala, meaning the "lion people" or "people with lion blood", while a sword-wielding lion is the central figure on the modern national flag of Sri Lanka. The entrance to Sigiriya, the Lion-Rock of Sri Lanka, was through the Lion Gate, the mouth of a stone lion. The paws of the lion is one of seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. [ citation needed ]

Southeast Asia Edit

Lions were never native animals of Southeast Asia in recorded history. As the result, the depiction of lion in ancient Southeast Asian art, especially in ancient Java and Cambodia, is far from naturalistic style as depicted in Greek or Persian art counterparts, since the artist who carved the lion sculpture never saw the lion before, and all were based on perception and imagination. The cultural depictions and the reverence of lion as the noble and powerful beast in Southeast Asia was influenced by Indian culture. [ citation needed ]

Statue of a pair of lions often founds in temples in Southeast Asia as the gate guardian. In Borobudur Buddhist monument Central Java, Indonesia andesite stone statues of lions guarding four main entrances of Borobudur. The thrones of Buddha and Boddhisattva found in Kalasan and Mendut buddhist temples of ancient Java depicted elephant, lion, and makara. The statue of a winged lion also is found in Penataran temple East Java, as well as in Balinese temples. The Balinese winged lion often served as the guardian statue or as the pedestal of wooden column. [ citation needed ]

In Cambodia statues of lions flanking the temple gate or access roads are commonly found in temples of Angkor. Bakong, a stepped pyramid Hindu temple from earlier period also displays lion statues as guardians of each stage on each of the cardinal points. Khmer lion guardian statues are commonly found in Angkor Wat, Bayon, Pre Rup and Srah Srang. Just like ancient Java, the depiction of lion in ancient Khmer art is not in naturalistic style, more like a symbolic mythical animal derived from Indian Hindu-Buddhist art. The royal emblem of Cambodia depicting a pair of guardian animals gajasingha (hybrid of elephant and lion) and singha (lion). In Thailand, a pair of lion statues are often placed in front of temple gate as guardian. The style of Thai lion is similar to those of Cambodian, since Thailand derived many of its aesthetics and arts elements from Cambodian Khmer art. [ citation needed ]

In Myanmar, the statue of lion called Chinthe guarding the stupas, pagodas, and Buddhist temples in Bagan, while pair of lions are also featured in the country's coat-of-arms. [ citation needed ]

The island nation of Singapore (Singapura) derives its name from the Malay words singa (lion) and pura (city), which in turn is from the Tamil-Sanskrit சிங்க singa सिंह siṃha and पुर புர pura. [50] According to the Malay Annals, this name was given by a fourteenth-century Sumatran Malay prince named Sang Nila Utama, who, on alighting the island after a thunderstorm, spotted an auspicious beast on shore that his chief minister identified as a lion (Asiatic lion). [51] Recent studies of Singapore indicate that lions have never lived there.

In the modern era, the lion or Merlion became the icon of Singapore due to the island's name. The Merlion also figures heavily in the official symbols of the Philippines as it was once an overseas possession of Spain it appears on the coat-of-arms of Manila, as well as the emblems of the President, Vice-President, and its navy. [ citation needed ]

East Asian traditions Edit

The common motif of the "majestic and powerful" lion was introduced to China by Buddhist missionaries from India, somewhere in the first century AD. [52] Lions themselves, however, are not native to China, yet appear in the art of China and the Chinese people believe that lions protect humans from evil spirits, hence the Chinese New Year lion dance to scare away demons and ghosts. Chinese guardian lions are frequently used in sculpture in traditional Chinese architecture. For instance, in the Forbidden City in Beijing, two lion statues are seen in almost every door entrance.

Lions feature prominently in the Tibetan culture with a pair of Snow Lions seen on the Tibetan flag. The Snow Lions are mythical creatures that are seen as protector entities. The Snow Lion symbolizes fearlessness, unconditional cheerfulness, east, and the Earth element. It is one of the Four Dignities. It ranges over the mountains, and is commonly pictured as being white with a turquoise mane. Lions (獅子, shishi) feature prominently in many kabuki plays and other forms of Japanese legend and traditional tales. [ citation needed ]

The lion appears in several fairy and folk tale traditions all over the world. Some tale types, according to the Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index, show it as the hero's helper or a protagonist on its own right:

  • Aarne-Thompson-Uther type number 156, "Androcles and the Lion": a slave helps a lion by removing a thorn from its paw. Later, when the slave is put in a perilous situation against the very same lion, the lion recognizes him and spares his life in gratitude. [53][54]
  • Aarne-Thompson-Uther type number 300, "The Dragon-Slayer": in some variants, a lion appears as part of the hero's animal entourage to defeat a vicious dragon and rescue the princess. [55]
  • Aarne-Thompson-Uther type number 303, "The Twins or Blood-Brothers": this tale type sometimes merges with the previous one. Twins (or triplets) or lookalike individuals acquire two sets of fierce animals, like bears, lions and wolves. Each goes their separate ways: one defeats the dragon and the other meets a witch who petrifies his twin. Example: The Three Princes and their Beasts, Lithuanian fairy tale The Two Brothers, German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. [56]
  • Aarne-Thompson-Uther type number 425, "The Search for the Lost Husband", and Aarne-Thompson-Uther type number 425A, "Animal as Bridegroom": a maiden is betrothed to an animal bridegroom (a lion, in several variants), who comes at night to the bridal bed in human form. The maiden breaks a taboo and her enchanted husband disappears. She is forced to seek him. [57] Example: The Singing, Springing Lark, a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm [58]La fiancée du lion ("The Lion's Bride"), Breton folktale collected by Paul Sébillot. [59]
  • Aarne-Thompson-Uther type number 552, "The Girls who married Animals": a bankrupt nobleman or a poor farmer is forced to wed his daughters to three animal suitors, who are actually enchanted princes under a curse. In some variants, one of the suitors is a lion. Example: The Three Enchanted Princes. [60][61][62][63][64]
  • Aarne-Thompson-Uther type number 590, "The Faithless Mother" or "The Prince and the Arm Bands": a boy with his mother finds a magic belt (magic arm bands) that grants strength. Later, his mother conspires with her new paramour (giant or ogre) to kill her son. Two lions end up helping the youth. [65] Example: The Blue Belt, Norwegian fairy tale.

The lion also appears as a king's councillor in the German fairy tale The Twelve Huntsmen. [66]

The lion also appears as an obstacle in the hero's dangerous quest, such as a guardian of the water of life, of a garden or of a princess. [66] [67] [68]

Various kings and political leaders in different cultures and times, famed for courage or fierceness, were entitled "the lion" – such as:

    , along with his family, were known to bear lions on their arms of Saxony , first used a single lion, then the three-lion bearing that became the arms of the Plantagenet dynasty. , "The Lion of Flanders" , "The Lion of Punjab" was called Asad aṣ-Ṣaḥrā’ (Arabic: أَسَـد الـصَّـحْـرَاء ‎, "Lion of the Desert"). [69]
  • The Al-Assad family, ruling in Syria, derives its surname from the title Asad ("lion" in Arabic) of an ancestor [70]
  • Thirteen popes took the name Leo

Paintings of lions Edit

Allegory with a Virgin, 1479-80 by Hans Memling

Hercules fight with the Nemeean lion by Pieter Paul Rubens

Lion of the Atlas (French: Lion de l'Atlas) by Eugène Delacroix, 1829, in the Saint Louis Art Museum

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1863

U.K. Edit

U.S. Edit

    , two 5,000 pound, reclining brass lions flank the Connecticut Avenue entrance, [72]
  • Patience and Fortitude, the two Tennessee marble lions flanking the main entrance to the New York Public Library Main Branch, in Manhattan sculpted by Edward Clark Potter , West Front, in the Botanic Garden, Washington D.C., four protective bronze lions crouching on the American flag, sculpted by Henry Merwin Shrady, installed April 28, 1912 shown in the opening credits of the House of Cards[71] : the (main) entrance arch, the Lions Arch, is considered to be a contributing structure in the Rosicrucian Fellowship Temple Historic District and is also a local landmark in Oceanside, California. Cast concrete lions stand guard at each end of the arch. [73][74]

The lion is a common charge in heraldry, traditionally symbolizing courage. [75] The following positions of heraldic lions are recognized: [76]

  • rampant
  • guardant
  • reguardant
  • passant
  • statant
  • couchant
  • salient
  • sejant
  • dormant

The lion holds historical significance for English heraldry and symbolism. The Coat of arms of England was a symbol for Richard the Lionheart, and later, for England. For many centuries the lion had been a feature of the Armorial of Plantagenet of the House of Plantagenet, and is still worn by both the England national football team and England and Wales cricket team. [ citation needed ]

The Royal Banner of Scotland continues to be used widely today and has given rise to its use as the emblem for the Scotland national football team and Rangers F.C. and Dundee United F.C. of the Scottish Premier League, as well as English Premier League club Aston Villa F.C. and not only sport but businesses such as the French car company Peugeot, the international beer company Lion Nathan, and Caledonian MacBrayne ferries. Arising from heraldic use, the Red Lion is also a popular pub name, with over 600 pubs bearing the name. [77] A rarer inn name is the White Lion, derived from Edward IV of England or the Duke of Norfolk. [77] Though the lion appears on the coats of arms and flags of Lyon and León, the cities' names have an unrelated derivation despite the similarity. Rampant lions are common charges in heraldry. For example, the arms of the Carter of Castle Martin family, Ireland (see Carter-Campbell of Possil) include a pair of rampant combatant lions. [ citation needed ]

Royal insignia of Cambodia with gajasingha and singha lions

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Iraq (1932–1959), depicting the lion and horse

National currencies of three countries in Europe are named after the lion: the Bulgarian lev (Bulgarian: лев , plural: лева, левове / leva, levove), and the Moldovan and Romanian leu (/leŭ/, plural: lei /lej/) all mean "lion".

No less than 18 consecutive ships of the British Royal Navy bore the name HMS Lion. Also, various other navies have used the name for their vessels, [ citation needed ] as did civil shipping companies. [ citation needed ]

    's name is the Anglicised form of the original Sanskrit-derived Malay name Singapura, which means 'Lion City'. Malay mythology describes how the founder-prince of Singapore (then called 'Temasek') sighted a strange red and black beast with a mane when he first set ashore the island. Believing it to be a lion and a good omen (although lions were not known to exist anywhere in Southeast Asia) he renamed the island Singapura. The lion features on the Singapore national coat of arms and is also the nickname of the national football team. 'Lion City' is also a common moniker for the city-state.
  • Using Leon (lion) as a placename started in Ancient Greece several locations in Greece itself had the name (Greek:: Λέων ) as well as a Greek colony in Sicily. , the major city of western Ukraine, is named for Prince Lev I of Galicia. Lev is a common Slavic name meaning "lion". The Latin name for Lviv is Leopolis, meaning "Lion City".
  • The name of the city of Oran in Algeria is derived from the Berber root 'HR meaning lion, from which are also derived the names of Tahert and Souk Ahras. The name is attested in multiple Berber languages, for instance as uharu and ahra. A popular Oran legend tells that in the period around 900 BC, there were sightings of lions in the area. The two last felines were killed in a mountain near the city of Oran, which is now known as La montagne des Lions ("The Mountain of Lions"). In fact, there are two giant lion statues in front of Oran's city hall, hence the twin lions' mountain is Oran's symbol.
  • Despite common misconception, the name of the French city of Lyon is a corruption of Lugdunum, a Latinization of Celtic for "fortress of god Lugus". The same happens with the Spanish city of León, whose name is a corruption of legio, Latin for "legion". However their coats of arms wear lions as armes parlant.

Literature Edit

  • In Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche, the lion is used as a metaphor to describe a human who rebels against old knowledge, to make a new morality possible. The morality of the overman.
  • The lion's symbolism continues in fantasy literature. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz features the Cowardly Lion, who is particularly ashamed of his cowardice because of his cultural role as the "king of the beasts". [78]Aslan, the "Greatest Lion" is the central figure in C.S. Lewis' Narnia series. [79] The word aslan is Turkish for lion. The lion is also the symbol for Gryffindor house, the house of bravery, in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
  • Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back is a 1963 children's book written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. Lions also tend to appear in several children's stories, being depicted as "the king of the jungle".
  • In award-winning children's picture book, Charlie and Mama Kyna, Leo, the lion, befriends and journeys home with Charlie in vivid illustrations.
  • In the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, one of the main noble houses and main antagonists of the series, the Lannisters, have a golden lion on crimson as their family symbol, and in contrast to the lion being presented as a regal, noble creature in traditional folklore, it carries the undertones of pride, corruption, and lust for power of the Lannisters.
  • Again adhering to king of the beast role, the book The Forges of Dawn focuses on the lions (called lyons) as opposed to the other creatures of Africa. These lyons rule empires and, in the case of the antagonists, almost entire continents. They are somewhat evolved from the lions we know today. For example, lyons have more mobile dewclaws as opposed to lions who's declaws are more stationary. They also live longer and speak varied languages.
  • The Pride of Baghdad is based on a real story of African lions that escaped from Baghdad Zoo in 2003. [80]

Film Edit

The lion's role as "king of the beasts" has been utilized in a number of cartoons, from the Leonardo Lion of King Leonardo and His Short Subjects (1960–1963) series to the Disney animated feature film The Lion King (1994). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios have used a lion as their logo since 1924. At least seven different lions have played Leo the Lion, the lion seen at the start of every MGM film. [81]

  • The live action film Born Free (1966), based on the true story from the bestselling book of the same title, covered the story of the Kenyan lioness Elsa, and the efforts of Joy Adamson and her game-warden husband George to train Elsa for release back into the wild.
  • Roar (1981) features numerous untrained lions, three of which were credited as actors. The lions did as they pleased on-set, so they also share writing and directing credits. [82]
  • The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) is a movie set in 1898. It is based on the true story of two lions in Africa that killed 130 people over a nine-month period, during the construction of a railroad bridge across the Tsavo River, in what is now Kenya. The local natives named the two lions, both males, "The Ghost" and "The Darkness". [83]
  • In 2005, the Kenyan lioness Kamuniak captured international attention when she adopted oryx calves, an animal species normally preyed upon by lions. She fought off predators and lion prides who attempted to eat her charges. Kamuniak's story was captured in the Animal Planet special Heart of a Lioness. [84]

Modern symbolism Edit

The lion is a popular mascot or symbol, for businesses, government entities, sports, and other uses for example:


Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Ancient statue found carved in rock in Siem Reap

Provincial Department of Environment director Sun Kong said yesterday the head portion of the broken statue was found by a resident on Saturday and the officials went to inspect the site on Sunday.

He added that the statue was made of sandstone during the sixth century and the body was broken into pieces, noting that officials found 13 pieces of the body nearby the site.

Mr Kong said: “According to the experts, this Makara animal statue is one that we have never seen before. It is approximately 2.14 metres in length and about 0.97 metres high. We have not yet moved the body parts or excavated the head from the site and have told park rangers in the area to guard it in order for officials from relevant ministries and institutions to come and study in detail about the site’s history and reconstruct the pieces.”

He noted that experts have not found a foundation of any temple at the site and believe it was just carved out on the rock.

Chhim Samrithy, 38, a craftsman from the province who discovered the statue, said yesterday he spotted it on Saturday while searching for bamboo. “I usually walk in the forest to look for some unique and sacred objects and suddenly spotted this rare statue,” he said. “After seeing it, I took environmental officials and archaeologists to the site and also helped to find some of the missing pieces of the statue.”

Long Kosal, Apsara Authority spokesman, said that the authorities’ archeologists visited the site yesterday and will conduct additional studies to add it to the records.

He said: “The Kulen National Park area is rich in ancient artefacts, both above and below the ground. Therefore, I urge people, especially those living in the area, to avoid excavating or clearing archeological sites. If they find ancient objects, please report to the authorities for research to be done to preserve them for future generations.” Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times

#SiemReapProvincialEnvironmentDepartment #SiemReap #statue #Makara #SvayLoeudistrict #Makaraanimalstatue #craftsman #archeologist #KulenNationalPark #artefact #archeologicalsite #Cambodia #TourismOfCambodia


Angkor Wat’s Design

Although Angkor Wat was no longer a site of political, cultural or commercial significance by the 13th century, it remained an important monument for the Buddhist religion into the 1800s.

Indeed, unlike many historical sites, Angkor Wat was never truly abandoned. Rather, it fell gradually into disuse and disrepair.

Nonetheless, it remained an architectural marvel unlike anything else. It was “rediscovered” in 1840s by the French explorer Henri Mouhot, who wrote that the site was “grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome.”

The compliment can likely be attributed to the temple’s design, which is supposed to represent Mount Meru, the home of the gods, according to tenets of both the Hindu and Buddhist faiths. Its five towers are intended to recreate the five peaks of Mount Meru, while the walls and moat below honor the surrounding mountain ranges and the sea.

By the time of the site’s construction, the Khmer had developed and refined their own architectural style, which relied on sandstone. As a result, Angkor Wat was constructed with blocks of sandstone.

A 15-foot high wall, surrounded by a wide moat, protected the city, the temple and residents from invasion, and much of that fortification is still standing. A sandstone causeway served as the main access point for the temple.

Inside these walls, Angkor Wat stretches across more than 200 acres. It’s believed that this area included the city, the temple structure and the emperor’s palace, which was just north of the temple.

However, in keeping with tradition at the time, only the city’s outer walls and the temple were made of sandstone, with the rest of the structures built from wood and other, less durable materials. Hence, only portions of the temple and city wall remain.

Even so, the temple is still a majestic structure: At its highest point—the tower above the main shrine—it reaches nearly 70 feet into the air.

The temple walls are decorated with thousands of bas-reliefs representing important deities and figures in the Hindu and Buddhist religions as well as key events in its narrative tradition. There is also a bas-relief depicting Emperor Suryavarman II entering the city, perhaps for the first time following its construction.


Recent Sightings

On November 15, 2013, an alleged monster creature has surfaced in Vietnam, with many scratching their heads due to the claims of how it was found. According to Japanese new site Karapaia, the monster was dug up in Vietnam rather than found at a beach or near the water. It is clearly a faked photo though.

Typically sea monsters and large corpses are often found from an oceanic source, so this claim is what's causing quite the stir online. The find caused widespread speculation as to what it could be, some suggesting it was a link to the Loch Ness Monster or was some sort of sea dragon or water dinosaur. Others surmised it was a mutant fish or some sort of shark species. “It’s hard to know what we’re dealing with,” A PROMAR (Programa en Defensa de la Fauna Marina-Sea Life Defense Program) spokesman Paco Toledano told Ideal.es Ameria, according to Inexplicata. “ It’s very decomposed and we cannot identify what it is ."

Perhaps we could learn something more from the bones, but to be precise, it would be necessary to perform a genetic analysis, which is very expensive and who would pay for it?"

Anyway, we have submitted the information to colleagues with more experience and knowledge to see if they can tell us something more specific.”


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