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Khmer Mythology The Lion

Khmer Bronze Mythical Lion

Khmer Mythology Beliefs, Astrology, Architecture & The Lion

  • Lions, in stone and bronze, are common features at Khmer monuments. There were no lions in Asia except in Asia minor (now extinct) and west India. However in Thailand and Cambodia these lions are mythical solar lions. They stand guard together with the lunar mythical animal, the Naga. Their presence has a deeper meaning.
  • All these temples were devoted to Vishnu. Motives and statues complimented the architectural homage and in doing so, all had meaning. Vishnu is an Indian God, which first appeared in the ancient Vedas, the four books sacred to Hinduism. Vishnu took three steps to encompass the earth, air and heavens. These steps symbolize the sun's point of rising, its zenith and its point of setting. Vishnu has a mount, a Garuda, a rapacious looking bird, which resembles an eagle.
  • Vishnu is also connected to the constellation Aquila, the Eagle. This constellation goes back to the days of ancient Mesopotamia and the Great Spirit Alala, in the form of an eagle. These cultures worshiped the Sun and the eagle.