Maldives Culture - www.maldivesculture.com
Maldives Culture - maldives island
Latest Updates arrow Maldives National Museum arrow Vighnantaka - Male', Maldives
Latest Updates
Advanced Search
Free Dhivehi-English Dictionary
=========
Presidency of Mohamed Nasheed
Gayyoom's Dictatorship 1978-2008
=========
Buddhism and Islam
Ibn Battuta 1343-45
Pyrard 1602-07
Rosset 1885
Maldives 1900-1922
Maldives 1924-1953
Majlis rule 1954-57
Suvadive Republic 1959-1963
President Nasir 1969-1978
Abdul Hakeem Hussein Manik
=========
Maldives History
Maldives Art
Scripts of Maldives
Maps of Maldives
=========
Traditional Stories
Magic - Fanditha
Photographs - Modern
Photographs - Historic
Ships of the Indian Ocean
Social Customs
Modern Stories
PDF Print E-mail


Vighnantaka - Male', Maldives



Six-faced stele of demonized heads with large ears and earlobes  reminiscent of the East Javanese period - sideview
A (All photos link to larger versions)
Found in Male, Maldives - Six-faced stele of demonized heads with large ears and earlobes reminiscent of the East Javanese period. Vajra symbols from Vajrayana Buddhism.
B
Six-faced stele of demonized heads with large ears and earlobes  reminiscent of the East Javanese period.
C


Photos A to S
c. 9th century CE.
Height: 60 cm, Width: 40 cm, Depth: 33cm

Six-faced stele of demonized heads with large ears and earlobes. Vajra symbols from Vajrayana Buddhism. The lips show traces of red pigment.

There are five faces on the three sides of the stele, and a very worn face on the top (photo J). The photos here are arranged in three columns, representing each side. Photos were taken with various lighting and camera settings. The actual colour of the stele is light grey.

The stele is a vighnantaka (or dvarapala) representation, designed to protect sacred ground (or the mandala) from evil.
Romero-Frias in The Maldive Islanders writes:
'The adverse powers (Skt. vighna) that may destroy the sanctity of any consecrated place are assumed to be demonic and malevolent. The vighna, vigani in modern Divehi, means 'obstacle', anything that obstructs the path to enlightenment.
'The nature of vighna is evil; their Lord is Yama, the God of Death. As in Indian Buddhist mythology, one of the aspects of Yama is the personification of evil in man and of his inevitable death. The vighna is assumed to be an amorphous and turbulent mass and, despite their importance, in Buddhist iconography they are never represented with as much precision as the vighnantaka. The latter are the awesome guardians of the gates (akin to the dvarapala) which are expected to put an end to the vighna with their terrifying appearance. The vighnantaka are a common feature in Buddhist sculpture and these fearsome looking images are a frequent feature by the gates of Buddhist holy sites...'
This vighnantaka was 'made to be buried', according to Romero-Frias.

Inscriptions in old Maldivian Eveyla Akuru script at the four corners of the largest head, which dominates the most finished side of the stele (the middle column of photos: B, E, H, K, M, O, Q, R, S). The inscriptions on either side of the head above the ears have been identified as Vajrayana mantras.

Carved from coral stone, the stele was found in the early 1960s during roadworks at Aifaanu Magu in Henveiru ward, Male'. Human bones were found around the stele and an adolescent female skull had been placed on top.

Regarding human sacrifices in early Maldives, Romero-Frias writes:
'Blood sacrifices, and even human sacrifices, were indeed a feature of Dravidian Devi worship. In South India even to this day, bloody ceremonies including animal sacrifices and nightly processions with lights are still part of the worship of goddess Mari.
'It is very likely that Buddhism, upon its arrival in Maldives, sought to stop human sacrificial offerings offered to the ancestral Goddess, so common throughout Dravidian village India. The readiness to offer these sacrifices can be traced to the extreme fear Maldivians had of epidemics and diseases in general.'




D
Maldivian eveyla akuru inscriptions on 9th-10th century CE sculpture
E

F



G
Maldivian eveyla akuru inscriptions on 9th-10th century CE sculpture
H

I



J
Maldivian eveyla akuru inscriptions on 9th-10th century CE sculpture
K

L



Maldivian eveyla akuru inscriptions on 9th-10th century CE sculpture
M

N




O

P



Maldivian eveyla akuru inscriptions on 9th-10th century CE sculpture
Q




R



S

<Previous   Next>
top of page

Maldives Culture, Powered by Joomla!; free resources by SG web hosting