Monday, February 25, 2008

Yes...even more Neak Ta

Neak Ta Ang Chey at Wat Salong
Ma, pa and sonny Neak Ta at Wat Kambol
Another trip, this time to Kompong Speu, means more photos of the Neak Ta - spirit images - that I found on my travels. Even though Neak Ta are essentially part of the animist beliefs of Cambodians, they are often found in Buddhist pagodas or located elsewhere in a village where the locals believe their powers and energy force will do most good. The shrines or huts of Neak Ta literally contain anything, natural or man-made. The objects represent the land, water and spirit elements and often house small figures, as seen in these photos. In many instances, I have seen sculpted items taken from ancient temples and statues and worshipped as Neak Ta. If you see a shrine on your travels, take a moment to look in and see what treasures you can find - but please, never ever disturb the contents or you might face the wrath of the all-powerful Neak Ta spirits.
The top Neak Ta can be seen at Wat Salong, in Samrong Tong town, where he's highly-regarded and is called Neak Ta Ang Chey. The two monks I spoke to at this pagoda said their Neak Ta was very popular amongst the local people. The second photo is from Wat Kambol, on the main highway between Phnom Penh and Kompong Speu, and I nicknamed it 'ma, pa and sonny' Neak Ta. It was in an overgrown corner of the pagoda, which is undergoing extensive renovation.
The well-tended Neak Ta at Wat Trapeang Kong
A hermit-like Neak Ta at Wat Ampe Phnom
The series of Neak Ta at Wat Mrom
The lower 3 photos were taken at: a well-attended Neak Ta at Wat Trapeang Kong, which has a wooden interior, having been built in the early 60s; this hermit-looking figure was one of two Neak Ta at the pagoda, Wat Ampe Phnom, at the resort of the same name, a few kilometres from Kompong Speu town itself; the final series of figures are to be found at Wat Mrom in Kompong Speu town.

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