Apsara [uhp-ser-uh] noun. (Sanskrit: अप्सरा) 1 Hindu mythology: a supernatural female being, either the mistress of a soul in paradise or a succubus; 2 a representation of such a being.
Or are they “devatas“? No one seems to know what ancient Khmer stonemasons and architects called them, or why they’re featured so prominently on the temples of Angkor. Are they angels? Divine incarnations? Or mere decoration?
As for the latter, I don’t find that likely. If anything, I imagine these thousand-year-old lovelies concealing themselves behind their own beauty, all the while quietly doing the real work of the spiritual world—whatever that may be…as women have done for millenia.
A National Geographic story describes them as “alluring celestial dancers who served as messengers between humans and the gods.”
Celestial dancers. I love that.
Tomorrow: more apsaras, just for you