Apr 6, 2023
Aug 17, 2012

Naga Finial

Naga Finial


Part of a set. See all set records


Overall: 29.2 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm (11 1/2 x 6 x 6 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1987.14



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.

The royal palanquins were typically fitted with multiheaded, serpent-shaped finials at the ends of the poles and corners of the elevated platforms.

Naga means serpent in Sanskrit, a language from India selectively appropriated by the Khmer in Cambodia. In their own indigenous mythology, the Khmer people trace their descent from a naga princess and a prince from the island of Java who journeyed to Cambodia. The naga remains a potent emblem for the Khmer nation to this day; it is ubiquitous on Cambodian monuments.

See also
Cambodian Art
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.