Garuda and Naga Picture

Klut le Phaya Naak
Dang saeng sa-wang gap kwam-muet
Dtor-suu gan dtalod gaan.

The Story
The Garuda and the Naga are two of the most recognized characters of Thai mythology. These two creatures are in constant opposition, and their epic battle inspired writers, poets and artists through centuries. This artpiece is my homage to the Garuda-Naga motif.

### Garuda - the Light ###
Garuda is a bird-like creature, popular in Hindu and Buddhist stories. Nothing could prove its high status more than the fact that it's the national symbol of Thailand and its ruling royal dynasty. Traditionally, it's the mount of Phra Narai (Vishnu).

### Naga - the Darkness ###
The Naga is an equally powerful symbol. It symbolizes the underworld; it is featured on every temple in Thailand, and is the protector of none other than the Buddha himself! It's no wonder then, that the clash of two such titans has been a favored theme for artists and storywriters alike.

Staying true to traditions, this pic shows the Garuda in winning position. The Naga is sort of like the underdog in these battles, although in theory it's possible for a stronger Naga to win over a weaker Garuda (their strenght is determined by the circumstances of their birth). I tend to root for the underdog, so I find the Naga a bit more interesting than the Garuda.

About the drawing
It was a bit difficult to find the appropriate category for this pic. It's part photo-manipulation, part real drawing. The background is a photo of a nice scroll I took at the local egg-festival; you can see the original here. I made it a bit more worn with the help of Fireworks, and then I applied the finished drawing on top.

To make sure that all traditions are properly respected, the drawing itself was modeled after a temple mural in Thailand. I did the drawing separately, and then I tried my best to work it into the scroll texture, to make it look like it was drawn on that paper.

The lettering deserves special mention. The text is in Thai. My girlfriend Cherry translated the poem, and then I transcribed it using a special Lanna font. Lanna is the historical name for the northern part of Thailand where Cherry and I live. Lanna language is somewhat different than common Thai. The meaning of the poem is the following:

Garuda and Naga
Like light and darkness
Eternally fight each other.

Or in common Thai:

Continue Reading: The Underworld