The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 25, 2024

Naga Finial

Naga Finial

Overall: 29.2 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm (11 1/2 x 6 x 6 in.)
Location: not on view


When members of the royal family or priesthood traveled in a public festival procession or to a temple 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.
  • ?–1987
    (Natasha Eilenberg, Cornwall, CT, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Beyond Angkor: Cambodian Sculpture from Banteay Chhmar. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 14, 2017-March 25, 2018).
    The Cleveland Museum of Art (10/14/2017-01/07/2018): “Beyond Angkor: Cambodian Sculpture from Banteay Chhmar”
  • {{cite web|title=Naga Finial|url=false|author=|year=1100s|access-date=25 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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