The Angkor Faces continued – Ganesha

May 22, 2009

This was one of my very special projects: Ganesha. Not only that it was a real challenge workwise but also because I love this Indian deity very much. It stands for so many positive desires: protection, wisdom, courage. With Ganesha’s help you will travel safely, overcome all obstacles and nothing evil will pass your doorstep.

The challenge was the thickness of this bas-relief because I did not want to add extra silk material on top in order to form the figure, which should not end up in a completely distorted piece. But I managed to form the image in one single piece due to the sturdiness of the silk.


32″ x 19″, silk


Ganesha is one of the most important deities in the Hindu pantheon. Easily recognizable through his elephant head even for the uninformed. His attributes make him extremely sympathetic and that’s also the reason why I love this Hindu god: he is the one who removes all obstacles, he is the patron of the arts and sciences, he stands for wisdom and intellect. Normally he is the one who is addressed at the beginning of rituals because he also is the Lord of the letters and writing.

His mythologic emergence can be traced back to several legends – the tenor of most goes as follows:



“According to later texts (about 12 th to 14 th century) of narrating legends and mythologies of gods following happened. Parvati, Shiva’s wife, was disturbed once by her husband who entered the house, even though she was taking her bath.

The goddess felt annoyed, because she didn’t have any personal servant to guard her door. So, she rubbed her body skin and, with the perfumed unguents obtained, she molded the shape of a young boy, as glorious as daylight. Then, she granted him life and named him Ganesh, ordering that he should be on guard in front of her house.

When the child intended to impede the great god to enter the house, Shiva enraged, transformed himself in his Rudra form and requested his servants to attack Ganesh. In the battle, Ganesh got his head cut off.

When Parvati found out what happened to her son she became inconsolable. Unable to find the child head, Shiva grafted an elephant head on the dead body and gave him life again. Trying to repair his big mistake, he recognized Ganesh as his son.” (after Myths and legends about Ganesh)

There are innumerable and even more bloody legends about Ganesha’s birth. But you can also find legends around this deity which serve as an educational means.




This is one I specifically like:

One day, the child Ganesha was tormenting a cat just for fun, pulling his tail and rolling him on the ground, just like children, which sometimes injure an animal but are not aware that they act badly.

After his cruel play with the cat he left the cat in peace and went away. He was not aware what he had done. He went to mount Kailash to see his mother Parvati. He found her badly suffering, covered with wounds and dust.

He asked her about what had happened. His mother replied that he, Ganesh, was responsible for her condition. In fact, she had been, short before, that cat tormented by Ganesha.

This story teaches us that all the living beings are of divine essence. If we injure a living creature, one of our companions, human or animal, we injure God Himself.

Ganesh learned this lesson and we also must learn it during our lifetime (after Myths and legends about Ganesh).




Om Ganaadhipaaya Namaha



3 Responses to “The Angkor Faces continued – Ganesha”

  1. marywehrhahn Says:

    Absolutely stunning

  2. […] here to read the rest: The Angkor Faces continued – Ganesha « Images and Imagination This entry is filed under Hindu, Hindu God-Goddess, Om. You can follow any responses to this […]

  3. I remember only one bas relief of Ganesha at Angkor Wat. And I think few others at other temples.

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