Download Cambodia - BANTEAY SREI (6of7) [EN]
Cambodia - BANTEAY SREI (6of7) [EN]
Cambodia - BANTEAY SREI (6of7) [EN]
Lintels, pediments and decorations

The sandstone relief carvings of Banteay Srei are among the finest in all Khmer art, in invention, richness and execution. The pink sandstone, apart from being attr...
Lintels, pediments and decorations

The sandstone relief carvings of Banteay Srei are among the finest in all Khmer art, in invention, richness and execution. The pink sandstone, apart from being attractive in itself, is relatively hard, and has weathered only a little to retain the sharpness of the original work. What also contributes to the interest of the decoration is the depth seated. On the pediment of the other side, facing west, the God of Love, Kama, fires an arrow at Shiva in an attempt to draw the god's attention to his wife Uma. On the northern 'library', the E-facing pediment shows Indra, God of the Sky, riding his three-headed elephant Airavata and creating rain to put out a firein the Khandava forest, created by the god Agni in order to kill the naga Taksaka who lived in the forest. The god asked Krishna and his brother Balarama to help, and they positioned themselves on either side of the forest, to stop the animals from fleeing and to fire their arrows to stop the rain from falling. These arrows have often been misinterpreted as streaks of rain. On the W-facing pediment, in a scene that occurs later in the same epic, Krishna finally kills his uncle Kamsa, who has pursued and tormented him.

Turn to your right to begin a circuit around the central platform. Facing you is the N door of the mandapa, with a pediment with Kubera, God of Wealth, here appearing in his capacity as guardian of the N, above Rahu devouring an elephant; the lintel has a more typical depiction of Rahu among foliage. Walk clockwise around the platform. Over the E entrance to the mandapa Indra rides a three-headed Airavata; the lintel below has three simhas. The pediment and lintel over the southern and northern doors of the mandapa are identical and show Kubera. To your left, the E- facing pediment of the S tower shows Shiva and Uma on Nandi, while the lintel has Indra on a three-headed Airavata. On the S side of this tower, both the pediment and lintel show Yama, God of the South as well as of Judgement, on a buffalo. Here also as on all the facades of the towers, are magnificent devatas and guardians standing in niches. Continue round to the back of the tower, facing W. Both the pediment and lintel show Varuna, the guardian God of this direction, riding a hamsa. To see the N pediment and lintel, squeeze into the narrow space between the S and central towers. The pediment shows Kubera, God of the North, supported by simhas. On the lintel, the loss of the figure's head makes it difficult to identify but it is likely to have been Kubera; it is supported by a lotus and simhas. Turn round to face the S blind entrance to the central sanctuary. The pediment, like that of the S tower in the same position, shows Yama on a buffalo.
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