Palanquin Hook

Palanquin Hook



Overall: 17.4 cm (6 7/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1982.12



When members of the royal family or priesthood traveled in a public festival procession or to a temple like Banteay Chhmar to make offerings or participate in a ceremony, they would be carried in a palanquin, or a covered litter. Portable objects of veneration, such as bronze images or a sacred fire, were also carried on palanquins. The palanquins had wooden poles, hanging seats or raised platforms, and bronze fittings cast in intricate forms and gilt, lending the palanquins a sumptuous quality.

This hook once supported a bronze ring from which hung a seat, like a hammock or swing. A wooden pole would have passed through the hollow socket at the top and was carried on the shoulders of bearers.

The hook segment ends in the face of a garuda, a man-eagle with a prominent beak, stylized wings, and feathers. Figures indicative of devotion and success, including pairs of elephants, crown the fitting.

The figure in the middle holding a sword in one hand and his extended leg in the other is in a dance pose expressing vigorous attack. A scene from the bas-reliefs at Banteay Chhmar depicts a performer in this pose at the court of Jayavarman VII, just prior to the scenes of his naval battle against the Cham, rival people from a neighboring kingdom to the east.

See also
Cambodian Art
Type of artwork: 

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