Saturday, December 25, 2004

Twin and Triple Peaked Mountain

The earliest shell mound people did not apparently have any special usage for the mounds they built. As time goes by, we see they eventually use the artifices as religious platforms and burial sites.

Possibly the religious nature of the mounds is linked directly with the worship of mountains. The first Sumerian ziggurats were constructed upon large mounds and they were models of the sacred mountain.

The idea of the dueling volcanoes is often contained in a hybrid motif. These types of motifs were quite common among the ancients. The dragon in Chinese art, for example, can contain features of the snake, crocodile, fish, bird, goat and bull. Each part of the hybrid motif might have very important symbolic significance. Unfortunately, in many cases this significance is lost.

The twin-peaked mountain could represent both a single volcano with its caldera, and two closely positioned volcanoes, at the same time. Mandara, the mountain involved in the Milky Ocean story, is described in the Ramayana as having two peaks.

There are a number of symbols of a three-peaked mountain showing either the middle peak collapsed or with the Sun representing the third peak and, at the same time, a volcanic eruption. In the image below we see the Sumerian cuneiform representation of "mountain," the Chinese character Shan with the same meaning and possibly the higher middle peak also representing a volcanic dome, and the Egyptian hieroglyph Akhet representing the twin-peaked mountain in which the Sun resides and from where it arises. The lower part of the image shows the sun god Shamash standing between the twin peaks of Mashu.

Similar types of symbols can also be found among the Moche of Peru and at Teotihuacan in Mexico.

The Chinese geographer Chau Ju-Kua states that in Sanfotsi a "Buddha" known as the "Hill of Gold and Silver" was worshipped. This may be a symbolic reference to the double volcano. Gold often represents the Sun and Yang polarity, while silver represents the Moon and Yin polarity, although sometimes this order is reversed.

In Southeast Asia, the names of two early kingdoms, the Sailendra and probably Funan, both translate to "King of the Mountain." Similar titles are found throughout the region.

These titles derive ultimately from the priest-king of the clan confederacies.

Paul Kekai Manansala