The Mythical Yazhi Wall Pillar (Pair)
- Brand: Sengottuvel Wood Carvings
- Product Code: The Mythical Yazhi Wall Pillar Wall Pillar 6.5ft With Wax Brown
- Availability: In Stock
A Yazhi or Yali (Pronounced yA lee and unrelated to the Navajo name) is a mythical animal that is a chimera of a lion, elephant and a snake. They could have a lion face, its paws (and claws) and tail, fangs of a snake, body, hind legs and trunk of an elephant. Sometimes referred to as Vyalas, they are known for their ferociousness, speed, and strength. It possesses the male aggression and masculinity of the Lion, grace of the snake and intelligence of an elephant. As a transmutated animal, a yazhi is said to be stronger than a lion or an elephant combined and for this reason it was used as a mount during wars. In this era of gene modification, it makes me wonder if the yazhis were created as a fighting force or did such creatures naturally exist? And more importantly, did they actually exist and over a period of time become extinct.
My fascination for Liminal beings is well known in my circle as I prefer to believe in Gods (Like Lord Narasimha) who are both or many rather than just one. Thankfully for me, Hindu mythology is replete with Liminal beings – mythical creatures, chimeras and sometimes, monsters. Some creatures like the Uchchaihshravas (the 7 headed horse that emerged during Samudra Manthan), Gandaberunda (2 headed bird possessing immense strength) are multi-headed, others like the Yazhi, makara and Navagunjara are a chimera of sorts. Hindu temples serve as a record of these fascinating creatures preserving their form, texture, embellishments, and in the process keeping their memory alive.
During Christmas this year, I took my parents on an impromptu Temple tour of Kanchipuram – the city of silks and temples visiting 15 temples in a 20 hour time period. My first stop was the famous Kailasanathar temple, a prototype temple showcasing the spectacular nature of Pallava architecture. It is said that king Rajasimha (Narasimhavarman II) in addition to being the patron of this temple, was also its designer. Historians note that he drew sketches of the entire temple panel by panel on large screens in order to show the sculptors and builders exactly how he wanted the temple to be built. The temple overflows with statues of lions and majestic Yazhis. So this time, instead of being just a mute spectator, I made up my mind to document as many yazhi forms as possible (on this temple trip) and write about them.
Though there are many forms of Yazhis ( The base animal that they were created from), three are very common. Simma or Lion yazhi (சிம்ம யாளி), Makara or Capricorn (மகர யாளி) ( as seen in the above image) and finally Yannai or Elephant Yazhi( யானை யாளி). Some texts point to the presence of Horse headed, Human-headed or Dog headed yazhis in temples, but I have not seen them personally.
My learned colleague (while discussing this article) told me about the fascinating Yazhi pillars of the Nellaiappar temple in Tirunelveli which are said to be inspired by the majestic bamboo shoots of the Venu vanam (bamboo grove) that was originally present at the location surrounding the Swayambhu (self created) Linga of Lord Shiva.
I also saw sculptures that offer proof of the intimate relationship between the ancient south Indian kingdoms and those of Cambodia and other countries that form the present-day south-east Asia. In fact, I saw lion/dragon statutes in Bangkok that were very similar to the two yazhi statutes in the image above. Note how they are very different in terms of aesthetics – yet they both belong to the same time period, the same style of architecture and are from the same temple.
|Type Of Finish||Wax Brown|
|Dimensions||H-78" W-24" T- 12" (Inches)|