18.9 x 10.8 x 6.3 cm
This 'j-shaped' palanquin hook depicts a dwarf, or 'gana', riding a 'naga', or snake deity, and supporting the mythical bird Garuda on his shoulders. This highly stylised object was intricately crafted yet functional: it would have hung from the pole end of a palanquin (carriage). It is possible to reconstruct how such a piece may have been used by reference to the bas-reliefs at Angkor Wat, the Bayon and other temples where various procession scenes depict similar pieces in use on palanquins. The ornate, deeply incised and energetic surface decoration coupled with the vigorous projections convey the imminent explosion of a barely contained energy. Similar tension and fecundity is seen in stone architectural decoration and is characteristic of Khmer taste.
The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.312.
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 312 (colour illus.).