palanquin hardware, bronze

Palanquin Hooks, 12th-13th century


At the height of the Khmer Empire (802–1437 CE), royalty and aristocracy traveled in handheld carriages, or palanquins. Transported on poles shouldered by humans, the carriage was suspended from decorative bronze hooks. Rich in imagery, the top ring consists of stylized lotuses, symbolizing purity, surmounted by a bud. Beneath is a kirtimukha, a fierce-faced monster motif intended to ward off evil spirits, which is lifted by Garuda, a mythical bird often depicted carrying the Hindu god Vishnu through the sky. Underscoring Khmer ideas of divine kingship, Garuda is also a conqueror of serpents (nagas), which form the loops hanging from its tail. As seen in the waterpot (kendi) on the left, Hindu theology arrived from India, but the combination of such elements into a luxurious, utilitarian bronze is distinctly Khmer.



Pair of Palanquin Hooks (#200)
Palanquin Hooks
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

palanquin hardware, bronze