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Dave & Marisa Haralson | all galleries >> Two Years Travel Around-the-World >> SE Asia >> Cambodia >> Khmer Dancing > I think she's supposed to be a dragon lady
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I think she's supposed to be a dragon lady

Olympus C-740UZ
1/13s f/3.2 at 39.8mm iso100 full exif

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Serey Tep 01-Jan-2006 03:06
Hello Mr. & Mrs. Haralson,
I would like to provide you a better understanding on behalf of Cambodian’s Classical Dances. The female dancer in that picture was supposed to portray a Mermaid character that is called "Sovann Macha." If you look closely at the tip of her tail you could see a fish tail. This particular scene was taken from the Ramayana’s story, I’m not sure if you ever heard of it, if not? Let me brief you on it.
For the past two thousand years the Ramayana has been among the most important legendary and oral passages of South East Asia. I’m not sure if you have visit Angkor Watt at the time you were in Cambodia, but if you did; there are numerous carvings on the walls that epic the story of the Ramayana. Well, the story goes…
A retiring King Dasaratha of Ayodha chooses his son Rama as his heir. The king wife Kaikeyi asks that he assign another son Bharata, instead. She feels misfortune will come upon her if he doesn't crown Bharata as a king and exile Rama to the forest for fourteen years. The king unwillingly agrees, so Rama goes with his beautiful wife, Sita, and his brother Laksmana, leaving their luxuries to live a plain life.
In the forest the three meet the demoness Surpanakha who falls in love with Rama. Rama refuses her requests and Laksmana wounds her. She reports to her brother Ravana, ruler of the island kingdom of Lanka. After hearing Surpanakha's statement about Sita’s beauty Ravana must have Sita, he then changes himself into in wandering holy man to find her in the forest. He distracted Rama and Laksmana with a golden deer, Ravana carries Sita off to Lanka.
Sita weeps for Rama in Ravana's garden in Lanka, while Rama and Laksmana inquire services from Hanuman, the monkey king, to help them find her. Hanuman was able to make himself larger or smaller, he starts his quest for Sita by taking a giant step to the Island of Lanka. Carrying Rama's ring and a scarf that Sita left behind, he finds Sita and identifies himself as Rama's messenger. Sita is pleased, but Hanuman is caught and Ravana sets Hanuman's tail on fire. Hanuman escapes and sets fire to Lanka.
Then the battle began when Rama, Laksmana, Hanuman, and his monkey army lay siege on Lanka. The monkeys make a bridge to Lanka, and after a long battle with spears, bows and arrows, Rama kills Ravana and won the battle and finally got his wife back.
*Now, the part where the the monkeys make a bridge to Lanka, that’s when “Sovan Macha” comes into the story. Note that she was the niece of Ravana, so she was helping her uncle by stealing pieces of rocks that Hanuman and his monkeys’ crew was making.
(If you look at the picture that you took, there was a big piece of rock in front of the mermaid.)
Hanuman caught Sovan Macha at the end and they fell in love. Sovann Macha then ordered her fish to help build the road. Hanuman and Sovann Macha had a child called Mechanub who had the body of a white monkey and the tail of a fish.*
And the story goes on…hopefully this give you a little understanding of Cambodian’s Classical dances.
Well, it was a pleasure briefing to you. I do apologize for the long written essay but I’m stating this for others to have a better understanding of our characters in our Cambodian’s Classical dances legend.
Have a Happy New Years!
Serey :)
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