Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-sxzjt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-16T15:34:02.306Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

6 - Dancers, Musicians, Ascetics, and Priests: Performance-based Śaiva Worship and its Development in the Temple Cults of Angkor

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2023

Andrea Acri
Affiliation:
École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris
Peter Sharrock
Affiliation:
University of London
Get access

Summary

Introduction

Śaivism was the dominant Indic religious tradition in the ancient Khmer domains in the early mediaeval period (ca. 7th–13th century CE). The ideologies and ritual practices of its various currents, from the Atimārga or Pāśupata Śaivism (flourished ca. 3rd–8th century) to the Mantramārga or tantric Śaivism (flourished ca. 7th–13th century), inspired the extant corpus of Sanskrit and Old Khmer inscriptions as well as the regions’ temple architecture.

The Pāśupata movement was one of the earliest organized and widely distributed ascetic orders of Śaivism. The Brahmins of this sect left significant traces of their presence across the subcontinent and also secured a prominent position in the ancient Khmer, Cam, and Javanese domains. One of their most characteristic traits was the incorporation of song and dance into observance (vrata), both within and without temples. The key text Pāśupatasūtra indicates that the initial systematic inclusion of song and dance in ascetic observance can be traced to the Pāñcārthika tradition, whose earliest textual sources date back to ca. 4th or 5th centuries CE. An association with performance may also be detected among the various sub-traditions that sprung up within the Pāśupata fold, including the Lākulas and the Kāpālikas/Kālamukhas, as well as the elusive ‘Siddhas’, who appear to have taken up some of the antinomian behaviours of the Pāśupatas.

While the Pāñcārthika Pāśupata system was characterized by an ascetic character, early references to this sect in the epigraphical records document endowments for temples, and ‘refer to Pāśupatas as recipients for the performance of worship in the temples’ (Bisschop 2010: 485). It has, thus, become increasingly clear that, fairly soon in the history of the order, some Pāśupatas started to perform temple rituals, thereby obtaining royal support. The performing arts, including singing and dancing, seem to have played a role in their modes of worship. These may then have been carried forward and further developed by the Mantramārga throughout the mediaeval period in Śaiva temples and monasteries in both the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

This chapter documents and re-examines the Śaiva ritual practices enjoining performance in the mediaeval Khmer domains. It combines data mined from the Śaiva textual archive in Sanskrit and vernacular languages with hitherto neglected art historical material from the ancient Khmer domains, as well as insights from Campā, Java, and South India.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Creative South
Buddhist and Hindu Art in Mediaeval Maritime Asia
, pp. 192 - 221
Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
First published in: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×