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Chhum, Menghong (2020) 'Nine Deities Panel in Ancient Cambodia [ផ្ទាំង​ចម្លាក់​ទេព​ប្រាំបួន​អង្គ​ក្នុង​អារ្យធម៌​ខ្មែរ​បុរាណ].' Pratu: Journal of Buddhist and Hindu Art, Architecture and Archaeology of Ancient to Premodern Southeast Asia, 1 (2). pp. 1-17.

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The nine deities panel has been found in large numbers and existed with several configurations of deities in ancient Cambodia. The oldest known example dates from the pre-Angkorian period and shows the navagrahas (nine celestial bodies) in a standing posture. The iconographic form differs on Angkorian-period panels, with the nine deities on their individual vāhana (mount). By reanalysing the iconography of the deities and the typological development of the panels, it is argued that this later group represents the navadevas, a term used to designate the combination of four grahas and five dikpālas (guardians of the directions). This study also considers issues relating to the imagery’s meaning and significance, based on their iconographic and architectural contexts in Khmer temples. The colocation of the navadevas and related iconographic themes including Viṣṇu Anantaśayana, the grahas as seven ṛṣis, and the mātṛkās, clarifies that the imagery’s meaning relates to the celestial bodies, the directions and the notion of cosmological order. The panel was used both as a lintel above a temple doorway and installed inside the sanctum as an independent object near the image of the main deity, and appears to have been especially associated with shrines located in the southeast of a temple complex. The significance of the panel is suggested to relate to the idea of the temple as cosmic space.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Angkorian, celestial bodies, cosmological order, dikpālas, directions, iconography, mātṛkās, navagrahas, navadevas, pre-Angkorian, seven ṛṣis, vāhana, Viṣṇu Anantaśayana
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Open Access Journals
SOAS Open Access Journals > Pratu: Journal of Buddhist and Hindu Art, Architecture and Archaeology of Ancient to Premodern Southeast Asia
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General)
ISSN: 2634176X
Copyright Statement: Articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC 4.0). This enables all content to be shared, copied and redistributed in any medium or format, with permissible exceptions where required. See individual figure captions for the copyright status of illustrations. For more information see
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2020 07:35

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