5 Apr 2011

Apsaras (Exam Oct08)

(OCTOBER 2008)

a) Define and sketch the following terms:
i) Paon - Thailand
ii) Apsaras - Cambodiaiii) Tokonama - Japan

  • Apsaras

Apsaras is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist Mythology.
Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural women. They are youthful and elegant, and proficient in the art of dancing. They are the wives of the Gandharvas, the court servants of Indra. They dance to the music made by their husbands, usually in the palaces of the gods, and entertain gods and fallen heroes.

Apsaras are also said to be able to change their shape at will, and rule over the fortune of gaming and gambling.

                          (Apsaras dance taken from the 12th century Bayon temple at Angkor in Cambodia.)

Apsaras also had the influence in the art and architecture of Cambodia. Apsaras represent an important motif in the stone bas-reliefs of the Angkorian temples in Cambodia.

Angkor Watt, the largest Angkorian temple built (1116-1150 AD), features the asparas. Angkor Watt architects employed small apsara images as decorative motifs on pillars and walls.

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