Lot 123 A Benjarong covered jar is painted with Theppanum and Norasingha motifs on the black background with delicate lotus pattern. Singha or the lion is the king of jungle, symbolizing power and strength. Known of its strength and bravery, a number of myths described Singha being an antique motif widely used in the South East Asia.
This creature is also a representative of royal power, Buddha, and the king. It is a guardian of Buddhism and Hinduism. The lions serve as guardians, represented in pairs at the entrance of temples. Mythological creatures are mostly painted on Benjarong with a component of Singha. Some believe that it is derived from Brahma’s astrological myth about the sun god riding a lion.
The sun itself is believed to be created from the lion. In fact, Shiva mythologically crushed six lions and covered with them with red cloth and the elixir of life to create the sun.
The fifth clause of a moral teaching book (do we know the name of the book?) described the seven characteristics of lion:
1. It’s a pure and virtuous creature.
2. It bravely walks on four legs.
3. It features a splendid posture and neck.
4. It has dignity even when sacrificing life
5. It goes hunting just for living without selection.
6. It lives with no food supply.
7. It neither hungers for food nor suffers from greed which implies a moral of government officials who serve the king.
This symbolic lion is also adopted in other countries such as Singapore, England, and India. In literature, four types of lions are characterized. The one painted on the jar is believed to behold ultimate power. Its tail, mouth, and back are in intense red with skillful brushstrokes of the artisan. The lion is also wearing an embellished necklace.