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THAI NAGA HALF SLEEVE

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Nāga themed half sleeve on left arm. 

Garuda themed half sleeve on right arm.

This is the result of a great project about the ancient characters Garuda & Naga. Showing above is the left arm with the Naga theme. The right arm is posted on this blog before and has a Garuda theme. This was a quite challenging project for me because I never drew a dragon before in my life. This is my first dragon, sounds weird, but it’s true. We choose to use the Thai dragon called Naga and surrounded it with Thai ornaments based on traditional Thai carvings. The customer wanted to have a contrast between the left arm and the right arm. To learn more about the Thai dragons I had to find some books telling me a little bit more of the stories behind these ancient characters. I found out these stories are incredibly complicated. Both of these characters appear in as well Buddhism and Hinduism mythology. I focussed on the Buddism interpetation of the Garuda (Even the stories about Garuda of Hinduism & Buddhism have similarities). I’m always amazed about the Thai ornaments and carvings found on temples and houses. Great piece to work on! More of this!

– Ade Itameda

A little bit more about Garuda & Nāga:

In Buddhist mythology, the Garuda are enormous predatory birds with intelligence and social organization. Another name for the Garuda is Suparṇa which means “well-winged, having good wings”. Like the Nāga, they combine the characteristics of animals and divine beings. They don’t know the exact size of the Garuda, but they say that his wings have a span of many ‘miles’ wide. They also say that when a Garuda’s wings flap, they create hurricane-like winds that darken the sky and blow down houses. A human being is so small compared to a Garuda that a man can hide in the plumage of one without being noticed. They are also capable of tearing up entire banyan trees from their roots and carrying them off. They also have the ability to grow large or small, and to appear and disappear at will. The Garuda have kings and cities and at least some of them have the magical power of changing into human form when they wish to have dealings with people.

The Garuda are enemies to the Nāga, a race of intelligent serpent or dragon-like beings, whom they hunt. The Garuda at one time caught the Nāga by seizing them by their heads; but the Nāga learned that by swallowing large stones, they could make themselves too heavy to be carried by the Garuda, wearing them out and killing them from exhaustion. The Buddhist Nāga generally has the form of a great cobra-like snake, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the Nāga are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves to look human just like Garuda. In Buddhist painting, the Nāga is sometimes portrayed as a human being with a snake or dragon extending over his head. They believe that Nāga live on Mount Sumeru, among the other minor deities, and in various parts of the human-inhabited earth. Some of them are live in the water, in streams or lakes and others are living in the earth, in underground caverns.

As you might know, the Mekong is one of the longest rivers in Southeast Asia. The legend of the Nāga is a strong and sacred belief held by Thai and Lao people living along this river. Many pay their respects to the river because they believe the Nāga still rule in it, and locals hold an annual sacrifice for the Nāga. Each ceremony depends on how each village earns its living from the Mekong River. For instance, through fishing or transport. Local residents believe that the Nāga can protect them from danger, so they are likely to make a sacrifice to Nāga before taking a boat trip along the Mekong River.

 

All these tattoo designs are custom made by Ade Itameda and created uniquely for each client and made by modern tattoo machines. They are based on personal ideas/symbols of his clients.  None of these designs will be re-used again. 

Copyright © Ade Itameda 2012. All rights reserved.

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