Another Face of Angkor – Lucky Dragon – as a Silk Carving

May 8, 2009

The dragon motif is ubiquitous in Asia. But other than in Europe or the western hemisphere, where the dragon represents something menacing and evil that needs to be extinguished, in eastern beliefs the dragon is a protector that fights all evil off.

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I have always been fascinated by those beautiful and impressive sculptures and bas-reliefs – so I decided to add such a face as a silk carving to this series.

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The “dragon face” here is called a kirtimukha and is one of the most ubiquitous icons in Asia. It is part of the Hindu legacy in Khmer art. In the Khmer country the kirtimukha can be found in various designs – with or without arms. It became a characteristic decorative element for lintels and gateways and other architectural constructions. Over the years the kirtimukha lost its originally protective function and developed into a purely decorative icon.

Below you’ll see such a decorative element:

01-kirtimukha_sans_front

Another example – showing a mask with arms – is this one:

02-kirtimukha_paire_bras_humains

One of the most beautiful examples from the Preah Ko temple in Angkor Wat is this bas-relief:

03-kirtimukha_couronne_royale

(Original image source:  Le Visage de Gloire« Kirtimukha » des monuments d’Angkor by Anne-Mey Chew) The aforementioned article is a very interesting document about the various styles of the kirtimukha and worth while reading.

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2 Responses to “Another Face of Angkor – Lucky Dragon – as a Silk Carving”


  1. Hm I don’t remember Preah Ko that much. Thanks for the picture.

  2. Bo Malinoski Says:

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