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The Art & Archirecture At Angkor Wat.

  • Khmer existence was totally dictated by Hindu beliefs, astrology and subjugation to the Gods and their God Kings. The role of architecture was to demonstrate these beliefs for the believers and enforce by demonstration the system to those subjugated to the system.
  • Architecture was based on a system where boundaries, axes, and other architectural parameters have measurement or size based on their physical extent and internal divisions (that is subdivided parts into logical parts with each measurable against the whole) but where additionally these structures contained calendar and cosmological concepts.
  • The monuments and art exhibited at Angkor are extensive and to better appreciate and understand these some understanding of Khmer beliefs, architecture and art form and subject matter is important.

Khmer Mythology Beliefs, Astrology, Architecture & The Lion On Angkor Monuments

Mythical Khmer Lion

  • Lions, in stone and bronze, were common features at Khmer monuments in Angkor. 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 in temples at Angkor 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.
  • These cultures had a belief in the eye of the Sun during the day and the eye of the constellation at night. Vishnu manifested this in the solar system of the zodiac signs as the constellation Leo and was also manifested in the lunar system under the constellation as Aquila. Vishnu is one god, the ultimate creator of time who is manifested in both the lunar and solar constellation systems, whether seen as Aquila or as Leo the lion. This solar guardian is inseparable from the lunar guardian, the Naga.