Symbols {162} ~ Kinnara

The Kinnara is pictured as half human, half horse, or half man half bird according to Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Southeast Asian mythology depicts the kinnara as half man half horse and its counterpart, the kinnari, as half woman half bird. They are both considered ideal lovers.

According to Burmese mythology, four of the Buddha’s past animal lives are kinnara. The symbol of the Karenni people is the kinnara and the kinnari. They are depicted as half bird half human and are symbolic of true love.

In Ancient India the kinnara were an exotic tribe that lived in the Himalayan mountains. They were considered superhuman and they protect humans in times of trouble. The kinnara were the troops of Ila who was cursed to transform from a man into a woman after trespassing on sacred grounds. He/she transforms back and forth every month.

Tibetan mythology mentions the shang shang which is also the kinnara. The shang shang is a half man half bird that is a celestial musician who plays the cymbals. The shang shang are also considered the king of the Garuda. The shang shang is a symbol of enlightenment.

Cambodians consider the kinnara and kinnari as symbols of beauty and skilled dancers. Kinnari and kinnara often appear in the Royal Cambodian Ballet as mischievous characters.

In Indonesia, kinnara and kinnari are often depicted together. They either have the head of a bird or the body of a bird. They guard treasure and the tree of life.

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