Sunday, February 24, 2008

261206 Wat Mahathat - Sithone & Manola

The front wall of the congregation hall is decorated with this sort of 3D art (no idea what the term for it is)...


...depicting a story known as Sithone & Manola (aka. Phra Suthon & Manora in Thailand, or Sudhana & Manohara in Indonesia), from the Pannyasa Chadok (ปัญญาสชาดก), a collection of jataka (chadok, or stories of the Buddha's previous lives).

Nang Manola is the kinnaree (half-bird half-human)...


...who left her wings & tail (below, golden things at middle left) aside while bathing in a lake...


Unable to fly away, she was caught by a hunter (above, at bottom left), who brought her to the palace...


There, Prince Sithone fell in love with her & married her. While he was away at battle, there was a plot to have Manola killed, but she managed to get back her wings from her mother-in-law. To help the prince locate her on his return, Manola left directions with a hermit (reusii/rishi) in the forest...


...before flying back to the safety of the kinnara kingdom...


They were eventually reunited after Sithone managed to pass a series of tests set for him by Manola's father, one of which was to identify her from a group of identical-looking kinnaree.

The detail is mind-blowing - right down to the roof finials & gables:


Mini elephant + giant foot soldiers - seriously it isn't that wise to walk so closely behind the elephant pie-producing end of the pachyderm:


At the time of the cat's visit, it wanted to ask around about the story behind this work of art, but everyone was busy:


They had to finish this & then bathe, get dressed in full robes, light the candles & set up the congregation hall & then strike the bell to get everyone assembled for the daily evening chanting. More than a year later, the cat finally stumbled upon the story while searching for information on the main stupa of this temple.

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