All the Legends, Myths and Mysteries
Half Woman Half Other Mythical Creatures
The Kinnari or Kinnaree as they are sometimes referred to in Thailand, depict images of young women wearing angel-like costumes. From the waist up they are female but from the waist down they have a body similar to that of a bird. The head, torso and arms are characteristically female with the wings, tail and feet representing a swan-like bird. In other words, their images represent that of a half-woman and a half-bird.
Their wings allow them to fly between the mystical world and the human world. Wouldn’t that be just absolutely wonderful?Perhaps they even managed to get their hands on a Red Bull since the beverage did have its origins in Thailand. Apsonsi on the other hand, are mythical creatures depicting half-a-woman and half-a-lion, some of which can be seen on the upper terrace of Wat Phra Kaew which forms part of the Grand Palace Complex in Bangkok.
If all legends are to be believed and from what I understand, these big, bold and beautiful creatures originated from Himavanta, an invisible mythical forest set deep in the Himalayan Mountains. Later, according to Thai literature they were adapted to harmonise with their way of thinking.
Legend also says that these beautiful beasts are renowned dancers and singers. And not only this but their love of poetry is regarded as a symbol of love, grace, compassion and accomplishment. This is true should you afford the time to see any of the traditional Thai performances held in many of the towns.
The photo above is a sculpture of a Kinnari decorated in the royal crematorium of Princess Galyani Vadhana at Sanam Luang in Bangkok. However, the most famous one in Thailand is the figure known as Manora entitled Panyasa Chadok. And if you look closely enough, you’ll spot some magnificent specimens of these images on several paintings and statues at Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace as well as at Wat Arun – to name but a few.
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