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Thai Mermaid Nang Ngeuk / Nang Suvannamaccha / Crocodile Prayer Cloth Large
- Thai Mermaid Nang Ngeuk / Nang Suvannamaccha / Crocodile Prayer Cloth Large
- Approx. 14" x 10 1/2"
- Material: 100% cotton sheet printed with ink
- Handcrafted in Thailand
- Mermaid/ Crocodile drawings on cloth are commonly in small shops and businesses are said to bring customers and wealth, success and victories. They are also believed to protect homes and businesses from floods.
- Thailand is famous for its many rivers and canals, some of which are home to crocodiles who survive and thrive in them.
- Thailand has the biggest crocodile farming industry in the world
- In the Kanchanaburi province, there is a special shrine that features a monk with a crocodile head. In Bangkok's bustling Chinatown, Crocodiles are seen and revered in temples to this day. Affectionately known as the Crocodile Temple, Wat Chakrawat is best known for the three live crocodiles that preside over the crowded grounds. Recently during the big floods during year 2011, flooding happened in some crocodile farms and crocodiles escaped and were free to roam in local canals.
- The Classic Thai version of the Mermaid comes from an epic 30,000-line Saga about Prince Phra Aphai Mani by poet Soonthorn Phu. Soonthorn Phu’s real name was Phra Sunthorn Vohara, and he is one of the most beloved Thai authors and poets. He was the official poet for King Rama II in the early 19th century, and his Epic Saga is considered a Historical National Treasure.
- The Phra Aphai Mani Saga was based to some degree on an ancient Thai legend of the Mermaid and the Fisherman. Featured is a stunningly beautiful Mermaid, who combed her hair with a golden comb on the beach one starry night. She was frightened away by a young fisherman. Smitten by her beauty and wanting to return her dropped comb, he waited every day for her return, but she never came back.
- Soonthorn Phu's version was set in part on the shores of Ko Samet Island. Phra Aphai Mani and his brother, Sisuwan, are Thai princes. Their father sent them away to study, with the hope that they would gain knowledge to help them rule the Kingdom. However, Sisuwan main devotion was learning to sword fight, while Phra Aphai Mani learned to play a Magical Flute, so powerful that it could put people to sleep or kill them. When they returned home, their father the King was angered by what they had learned and not meeting his expectations that he drove them both away.
- One day during their exile, while Aphai's companions were lulled to sleep by the sound of his pipe, a female Ogress named Nang Phisua Samut, came and took Aphai away to her cave. She disguised herself as a beautiful maiden and Aphai fell in love with her. They lived together until she bore a son, Sinsamut. When Aphai found out that his wife was really an Ogress, he fled with his son. He was assisted in his escape by a family of Mermaids, a father, mother, and daughter. The father and mother were caught and eaten by the Ogress. In a narrow escape from the Ogress, the Mermaid daughter took Aphai and Sinsamut to Ko Kaew Phitsadan (‘Magic Crystal Island’), which is the former name of Ko Samet. There a magical hermit protected them from the Ogress. Aphai married the Mermaid daughter who had saved him, and they had a son, named Sutsakhon.
- Another important Thai representation of a Mermaid is seen in the Legend of Suvannamaccha and Hanuman. Suvannamaccha is a daughter of Tosakanth appearing in the Thai and other Southeast Asian versions of Ramayana. She is a Mermaid princess who tries to spoil Hanuman's plans to build a bridge to Lanka but falls in love with him instead. The figure of Suvannamaccha is popular in Thai folklore and is represented on small cloth streamers or framed pictures that are hung as luck-bringing charms in shops and houses throughout Thailand.
- When Sita, the wife of Lord Rama is kidnapped by the demon Ravana, the Great King of Lanka. Lord Rama enlists Hanuman's aid in rescuing her from the remote island Kingdom of Lanka.
- Lord Rama orders Hanumon him to build a causeway to Sri Lanka from India so Rama's army can cross a great expanse of water to begin an attack to rescue Sita. Hanuman collects his band of Vanaras and they begin throwing huge boulders into the sea to make a foundation for the causeway.
- After a few days of difficult labor, they notice something is wrong and call Hanuman to examine the problem with the bridge. They Vanaras tell him that each day they throw rocks into the sea and the next day they are gone.
- Hanuman asks for volunteers to join him in searching out an under water source of the mystery, while he instructs the others to continue throwing rocks into the sea. Once in the water, Hanumon and his team dive and discover a large number of Mermaids swimming about the area. As they observe, a new rock is tossed in by the Vanaras on land. The Mermaids underwater immediately take the rock and carry it them away. Hanuman looks for their leader of the Mermaids, and soon spots the loveliest of the Mermaids supervising the others. He swims towards her but she skillfully evades him. Time and again he attempts to capture her, but each time she easily escapes his grasp.
- Over time, Hanuman is so amazed and awed by the prowess of the Mermaid, that he realizes that he falling in love with the creature. He then changes his tactics and begins to silently woo her. She responds positively to his new romantic advances, and soon they are united in embrace together at the bottom of the sea.
- Later, Hanuman asks the Mermaid why she is stealing the rocks the Vanaras throw into the water. She tells him that she is Suvannamaccha, a daughter of Ravana (the demon who had abducted Sita). When Ravana saw Hanuman's Vanaras building a causeway to reach his island Kingdom he instructed Suvannamaccha to stop their efforts any way possible.
- Hanuman tells the Mermaid why he is building the causeway, and of the abduction of Lord Rama's wife, Sita. Hanumon tells her of the ongoing battle between Lord Rama and her father King Ravana, and how they started to build a bridge to rescue Sita. Hanumon was ordered to finish the causeway within seven days or pay with his life.
- After hearing his tale, Suvannamaccha turned to Hanuman and her eyes were filled with love. No more, she said, would she prevent Hanuman from completing his mission. Her Mermaids underwater would, in fact, return all the stolen rocks to the causeway.
- They parted as lovers always part, but it was not to be the end for them. Hanuman had left his seed within Suvannamaccha, and soon she would give birth to their son, Macchanu. Their son Macchanu also appears in the Cambodian, Thai and other versions of the Ramayana.
- Much later in these versions of Ramayana, during one of the battles with Ravana's army, Hanuman encounters a new and powerful opponent. This new opponent was a magical creature who looked like Vanara from waist-up, but had tail of a fish. After a fierce battle between them and as Hanuman was about to land a lethal blow to the creature with his weapons, a golden star shining in the sky above reveals by way of Aakashwani, (a heavenly voice from the sky), that the enemy whom he is about to harm is his very own son born by his union with Suvannamaccha, the Mermaid daughter of Ravana. Hanuman, immediately holds his weapons in mid-air and father-son duo recognize each other and the truth of their blood relationship and embrace each other.