By dararith May 10, 2014 0
The Hindu pantheon includes a number of animal-gods who act as vehicles tor the higher gods. ln Cambodia, Nandin(‘The Happy One’) was viewed traditionally as the vehicle of the god Shiva and also worshipped as a form of that god. A kneeling figure’ of Nandin was commonly placed facing temple dedicated to Shiv . However, images of Nandin arc also seen in a variety of other forms and location, such as in bas-relief on lintels and in bronze sculpture with Shiva and his shakti , the goddess Uma , riding on his back. The intricate layering of religion in Cambodia is further revealed by a latter inscription from the reign of King Suryavarman I(1002-1050) where Shiva is described as an ancestor spirit (Nak Ta), riding a bull. Images of Nandin illustrate the close connection in Cambodia between the cult of Shiva and that of Fire (agni). The third eye on Nandin’s forehead is said to represent Fire, one of Shiva’s eight elements along with Earth, Water, Wind, Ether, the Sun, the Moon, and Soul (a tman). Nandin’s third eye also represents Siva himself whose fire permeates theuniversal cycle of creation, preservation and destru ction. This same fire is also seen as a touchstone of truth: in theReam Ker (the Khmer version of the 1ndian Ramayana epic) Rama made his wife Sita walk into the fire to show him that she was the real Sita in a test of truth and faithfulness. This seventh-century sculpture is one of the earliest known Khmer images of Nandin. However, right up to the period of King Jayavarmun VII ( 1 181 – c.J 2 J 8) the Khmer kings continued to commission Nandins in stone, gold and silver. In the 1980s, village residents in Kandal province discovered a silver sculpture of Nandin in Toul Kuhear (now housed in Silver pagoda, palace in Phnom Penh) weighing over 500 kilograms. Located at the right side of the Silver Pagoda, is a small library houses Tipitaka, the sacred Buddhist texts which we called Preah Trai Beydok in Khmer. And inside, there is a statue of Preah Ko or Nandi, a sacred bull. The statue was found in Koh Thom, Kandal province in 1983. It made of metals, which 80% silver estimated. The local visitors would wanting to touch the status, to feel how cold metals is.