Yeay Mao is the guardian of the Cambodian coast from the Vietnamese border to Sihanoukville and beyond. She was once the goddess Durga (Kali), but under Buddhism she’s been demoted to a neak ta, the equivalent of a guardian angel. She protects fishermen at sea, but sometimes kills them if they displease her. She brings blessings of children, and for this reason carved wooden phalluses and bananas (phallic symbols) are given as offerings. This shrine at Kep seems very new and has no offerings at all. I was surprised to find it, and also intrigued – it’s obviously very expensive, and I wonder who paid for it. Usually donors pay for Buddha images, as these bring the most merit, so this must be the gift of someone who thinks very highly of the Black Lady.
Some more photos from Kep:
I am really enjoying what I’m learning from your blog.
Thank you Margot :). I find Cambodian folk-culture fascinating.