Messengers of the gods – Kinnari

Kinnari are found in art and religious literature throughout India and Southeast Asia. they are frequently depicted dancing or playing music and shown as part woman, part bird. I drew my inspiration for this piece from Cambodia, Burma and Thailand. She is painted with Golden wings, referencing the Garuda, but also referencing the opulence in some of the glorious statuary. The Flag of Burma has a golden humanoid Kinnari on it with wings. Kinnari may also be depicted with the lower half of a bird or swan. The wing ridges were inspired by the fans the dancers use when depicting Kinnari and an illustration from the Lotus Sutra. The wings were custom textured in the 3D stage to produce this result.

Kinnari use their wings to move between the mystical planes and the earthly. they act similarly to muses, inspiring others with their grace and beauty in dance. often depicted as mischievous, they are always alluring and beautiful, sometimes in a guardian capacity. they are a classical feminine ideal in many ways, strong, graceful and elegant. The male counterpart is a Kinnara and was often depicted as half horse and an excellent musician.

The Exhibition Messengers of the Gods will be showing from the 22nd of February to the 6th of March at the Dome Gallery at Mission to Seafarers Melbourne.

2 thoughts on “Messengers of the gods – Kinnari

  1. Beautiful painting. But, I think you forgot two key important items on the Kinnari, 1) In every Burmese/Thai painting statue or painting I have encountered, her legs were bird like…never in the human form.
    2) she’s naked…she’s never depicted naked either, only topless with gold armor, gold, a specific head dress..
    This beautiful painting is of a naked women with wings, maybe an angel.

    • Thanks for your response Mimi! I admit I wrestled with the legs, but I found some images that were more humanoid -just bird feet and ankles and I went with those.. I found some images from India and Cambodia that supported more nudity in Kinnari (oddly never in Kinnara or not that I could find) so i brought the different concepts together with my research and my own artistic license 🙂

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