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Harmonious Animals - hybrid creatures in union with their natural enemy

garuda-lion

fish-otter

makara-conch

makara-dragon

 

4 Harmonious Brothers - working together

Elephant

Monkey

Hare

Partridge

 

Supernatural Animals

Wind-Horse

Dragon

Garuda

Tiger

Lion and Snow-Lion

Naga

Makara

Kirtimukha

also 

Elephant, Deer, Crane, Peacock

 

5 Buddha Vehicles

Lion - Vairochana

Elephant - Akshobya

Peacock - Amitabha

Horse - Ratnasambhava

Garuda - Amoghasiddi

          

      Gilt Copper Repoussé - Decorative Wall Ornament

Makara

Fine Goldleaf - 35 cms

 

                    'Makara' is a Sanskrit word which means "sea dragon" or "water-monster" and in Tibetan language it is called the "chu-srin". An ancient mythological symbol, this hybrid creature is formed from a number of animals such that collectively possess the nature of a crocodile. It has the lower jaw of a crocodile, the snout or trunk of an elephant, the tusks and ears of a wild boar, the darting eyes of a monkey, the mane of a horse, the scales and the flexible body of a fish, the paws of a lion, and the swirling tailing feathers of a peacock.

During the Vedic times when Indra was the God of heaven, Varuna, the Vedic water god became the God of the seas and rode on makara, which was called “the water monster vehicle”.

Makara has been depicted typically as half animal half fish. In many temples, the depiction is in the form of half fish or seal with head of an elephant. It is also shown in an anthropomorphic (abstract form) with head and jaws of a crocodile, an elephant trunk with scales of fish and a peacock tail. Makara is the mount of Varuna, the god of winds in Hindu mythology and also of the deity of the Ganga River. Lakshmi sitting on a lotus is also a depiction in which she pulls the tongue of the elephant shaped makara is meant to project Lakshmi’s image as the goddess of prosperity, wealth and well being. It represents a chaotic state, which eventually is restored to a state of regular order.

Makara is also the emblem of Kamadeva, the vedic god of love and desire. It is also known as ‘Makara-Ketu’ which means “long tailed makara.” It is the tenth sign of the Zodiac, called rasi in Sanskrit, which is equivalent to the zodiacal sign of Capricorn (goat symbol).

In the Tibetan Buddhist format it evolved from the Indian form of makara. However, it is different in some ways such as, "display of lions fore paws, a horse’s mane, the gills and tendrils of a fish, and the horns of a deer or dragon. From its once simple feathered fishtail it now emerges as a complex spiraling pattern known as makara-tail design (Sanskrit makaraketu)".

In Tibetan iconography, it is depicted in the Vajrayana weaponry of strength and tenacity which is the hall mark of crocodiles, since crocodiles hold on its hapless victim is nothing but death. The Vajrayan weapons which have crocodile symbolism are; axe, iron hook, curved knife, vajra, ritual dragon in all of which the theme is "emergence from the open mouth of makara".

Its symbolic representation in the form of a makara head at the corner of temple roofs is as water element which also functions as a "rainwater spout or gargoyle". It is also seen as water spouts at the source of a spring. The artistic carving in stone is in the form of identical pair of makaras flanked by two nagas (snake gods) along with a crown of Garuda, which is called the kirthimukha face. Such depictions are also seen at the entrance of wooden doorways as the top arch and also as a torana behind Buddha’s images.

The Newa art of Nepal uses this depiction extensively. In Newar architecture, its depiction is; "as guardian of gateways, the makara image appears on the curved prongs of the vast crossed-vajra that encompasses the four gateways of the two-dimensional mandala. Of the three dimensional-mandala this crossed-vajra supports the whole structure of the mandala palace symbolizing the immovable stability of the vajra-ground on which it stands."

15 cm from the tip of my tongue to the top of my horn, and 15 cm from the top of my trunk to the bottom of my beard. Mouth opens 4 cm. Long family history. References: Varuna, Vaisravana, Vairocana.

In Hindu iconography, Makara is represented as the vahana (‘vehicle’) of Ganga, the river goddess. A row of makara may run along the wall of a Hindu temple, or form the hand rail of a staircase.

In the medieval era of South India, Makara was shown as a fifth stage of development, symbolized in the form of an elephant head and body with an elaborately foliated fish tail. Most myths maintain this symbolism of this stage in the evolution of life.

In a Hindu temple, the Makara often serves as the structural bookends of a thoranam or archway around a deity. The arch emerges up from the jaws of one Makara, rises to its peak, the Kirtimukha (the ‘Face of Glory'), and descends into the gaping jaws of another Makara. Varuna is also depicted as a white man sitting on the monster makara. As a marine monster, it is also shown with the head and legs of an antelope, and the body and tail of a fish. A makara made in iron shows the monster in the form of half stag and half fish. These elements are variously joined to form one of the most common recurring themes in Indian temple iconography. In Indian art, the makara finds expression in the form of many motifs, and has been portrayed in different styles. Makara figures are placed on the entry points (Toranas) of several Buddhist monuments, including the stupa of Sanchi, a world heritage site. It is found guarding the entrances to royal thrones.

Makaras are also a characteristic motif of the religious Khmer architecture of the Angkor region of Cambodia which was the capital of the Khmer Empire. Makaras are usually part of the decorative carving on a lintel, tympanum, or wall. Makaras are usually depicted with another symbolic animal, such as a lion, naga or serpent, emerging from its gaping open mouth. Makara are a central design motif in the beautiful lintels of the Roluos group of temples: Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei. At Banteay Srei, carvings of makaras disgorging other monsters were installed on many of the buildings' corners.

 

Gilded Copper Repoussé

Kirtimukha

 

White, Green, Red and Yellow Goldleaf - lapis lazuli pigment

 

Kirtimukha (Sanskrit kīrtimukha) is the name of a fierce Hindu demon face with horns, huge fangs, and gaping mouth often used as a decorative motif in Indian and Southeast Asian temple architecture. It is generally placed above openings such as gates, windows and archways.

The word mukha in Sanskrit refers to an animal's snout or muzzle (also beak, mouth, face, countenance) while kīrti means "fame, glory". Kirtimukha (face of glory) is called so in order to commemorate the event when he willingly ate himself as per Lord Shiva's casual order.

 

 

 Cast Powdered Stone

Newari Lion Throne with Kirtimukha

Kirtimukha (Chepu in Nepali) flanked by two Makaras, Elephants, Lions, Garuda-headed lions and Snow Lions.

 

Gilded Embossed Copper Plaque

Astrological Buddha

 

From the top: Left-turning Conch (the 1st of 4 Auspicious Symbols) - top right - Ram, Tiger, and Pig.

On the right: 2 Golden Fishes (2nd Auspicious Symbol) - lower right - Rooster, Ox, and Dog.

At the bottom, Endless Knot (3rd symbol) - lower left, Rabbit, Monkey and Rat.

On the left: Treasure Vase (4th symbol) - top left - Dragon, Snake, Horse.

 

Fine Gold, White Gold and Moon Gold.

12 inches dia.

 

 

The zodiac of twelve animal signs represents twelve different types of personality. The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat, and there are many stories about the Origins of the Chinese Zodiac which explain why this is so (see below). The following are the twelve zodiac signs in order and their characteristics.

Each of the 12 animals are governed by an element plus a Yin Yang Direction.

  1. Rat (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water).
  2. Ox (Water buffalo in Vietnam), (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Water).
  3. Tiger (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood).
  4. Rabbit (Cat in Vietnam) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood).
  5. Dragon (Snail in Kazakhstan) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood).
  6. Snake (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire).
  7. Horse (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire).
  8. Ram (Goat in Vietnam) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire).
  9. Monkey (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal).
  10. Rooster (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal).
  11. Dog (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Metal).
  12. Pig (Boar in Japan) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water).

To sum it up, while a person might appear to be a dragon because they were born in the year of the dragon, they might also be a snake based on their birth month and an ox based on their birthday and a Ram based on their birth hour.

 

Gilded Copper Repoussé

Windhorse

 

Gilt Platinum with Fine Gold and gemstones - 30 cms

 

The wind horse is an allegory for the human soul in the shamanistic tradition of Central Asia. In Tibetan Buddhism, it was included as the pivotal element in the center of the four animals symbolizing the cardinal directions and a symbol of the idea of well-being or good fortune. It has also given the name to a type of prayer flag that has the five animals printed on it.

On prayer flags and paper prints, windhorses usually appear in the company of the four animals of the cardinal directions, which are "an integral part of the rlung ta composition": garuda or kyung, and dragon in the upper corners, and tiger and snow lion in the lower corners. In this context, the wind horse is typically shown without wings, but carries the Three Jewels, or the wish fulfilling jewel. Its appearance is supposed to bring peace, wealth, and harmony. The ritual invocation of the wind horse usually happens in the morning and during the growing moon. The flags themselves are commonly known as windhorse. They flutter in the wind, and carry the prayers to heaven like the horse flying in the wind.

 

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