Syncretic form of Harihara in Cambodian art: a reappraisal
Sayamtara Jash (Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan)
Paper short abstract:
Concept of syncretic form of Harihara [Hari - Visnu and Hara –Śiva] in Cambodian art– its nature, character and cross culture unification in a single image. The eclectic attitude of the artists is further manifested by the representation of varied and vast combined images unearth from this country.
Paper long abstract:
The concept of syncretic form of Harihara in Cambodian Art is a unique representation projecting cross-cultural assimilation and reflection of oneness in the realm of religion. Among the different anthropomorphic forms that have been worshipped in Cambodia, the Harihara image is an extension of Indian origin. To understand the true character, nature and cross-cultural unification of this iconic representation Hari (Visnu) and Hara (Śiva) in a single image forms the theme of this icon. The paper discusses important Śilpa texts about the rules composition of images. It is stated that right half of the image should have a jaṭamukuṭa on the head and should be adorned with crescent moon and other attributes of Śiva. On the head of Viṣṇu's portion (left side), there should be a kīrīṭa mukuṭa, ornaments and attributes. To the left, there should be sculptured Garuḍa and to the right, that of Nandi. Iconographic representations of Harihara have been found in Cambodia and other neighbouring countries but the present study portrays traits of plastic representation of Harihara from Phnom Da- Harihara of Prasat Andet (c.7th A.D),Sanbor Prei Kuk (c.7th A.D.) and other places. Salient Characteristics of the male images are incised moustaches- recalling the art of north western India - and a forehead-peak on the MITRE. This particular image has the same squared -off section with deep side recessions, and the same sensuous surface, though the general expression is far more severe.
Visuality, connectivity and sustainability of cultural heritage of Cambodia