King Suryavarman II as the commander-in-chief
The bas-relief shown in the image is part of the larger Procession of King Suryavarman II bas-relief. Read the Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs page for a detailed description of this and other bas-reliefs.
Standing majestically on top of the elephant is King Suryavarman II as the commander-in-chief of his army. He is holding a handle of his seat with his left hand, and an unknown object (probably a weapon) with his right hand. Sitting in front of him is the mahout goading the elephant with an ankusha, which is a pointed tool with a hook used in India and Southeast Asia for training and controlling elephants.
Notice the parasols surrounding the king. There are fifteen of them in this bas-relief. The number of parasols surrounding a commander indicates his rank in the army. The king has the highest number of parasols among the commanders in the procession implying that he is the commander-in-chief.
Unlike the other bas-reliefs in Angkor Wat, the Procession of King Suryavarman II bas-relief is based on history. It depicts King Suryavarman II in a procession with his commanders, soldiers, courtiers, and ordinary people.
The entire Procession of King Suryavarman II bas-relief covers the western section of the south gallery built on the perimeter of the lower level of the Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Check the Angkor Wat Temple Layout for the exact location of this bas-relief.
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