The snake/dragon/crocodile who devoured man, cross pacific cultural symbolism

Jonah being swallowed by a great toothed sea-monster. Sculpted column capital from the nave of the abbey-church in Mozac, France, 12th century. Pay attention to the curled snout at the left, just like a makara.

The below article and  gallery is a compilation of images and information gathered that is an addition to my  Makara research (That paper can be read by clicking here or by quickly glancing at this blogpost) which illustrates there are cultural links between India and the Americas. It elaborates further by looking at the Makara and Figure symbolism.

The man disgorged by a snake

By crusader knights the symbol came to the west via the Visconti Family of Milan, 200 years before the Americas where supposedly “discovered” by Columbus

The symbol of the snake/dragon/Makara devouring man was also known in India and by those channels might have gone to the Saracen knight the Visconti family got their crest from.

But how did this image also ended up in the Americas, so interwoven into their culture? “knowing the myth of Quetzalcoatl” is not what this is. It is a deep rooted cultural image that was know all over the old world and shows relations between these cultures.

Quote Joao Trefego: “The story below is a strong example of this and illustrates how already in the thirteenth century, two hundred years before the discovery of the Americas the Vatican and some “friends of the king / pope” already knew the myth of Quetzalcoatl.

The coat of arms of Visconti House (biscione), housed in the Archbishop’s Palace in Piazza del Duomo in the city of Milan, was created by Ottone Visconti, (1207 – 8.8.1295).
Ottone Visconti was elected archbishop of Milan by Pope Gregory IX, whose name was Tedaldo Visconti (1210-1276).
Gregory IX, before being elected Pope (1271-1276), participated in the Ninth Crusade (1271-1272) to Saint John of Acre in the Holy Land with the future prince King Edward I of England.”

Through my Makara research I made a connection between the Makara and Jonah in my Makara paper. When I then saw the post of the Visconti family crest linking it to quetzalcoatl and american art, I immediately recognized that the man devouring Makara image is also seen in Indian art.

That made me look further in American art and found this particular symbol all over the americas prominently displayed in their culture, buildings and codices.

So if the Makara image alone was not enough to convince people, the combination of the Makara/Snake and the human figure inside further strengthens the case for pacific cultural contact and exchange and furthermore to the sheer importance of this particular symbolism. I hereby extend Joseph Campbells initial observations I also made myself in my Makara paper to Jonah and the fish  and link these to India , Sumeria and the Americas.

Quote Joao Trefego: “Joseph Campbell suggested a parallel between the story of Jonah and the epic of Gilgamesh, in which Gilgamesh obtains a plant from the bottom of the sea. In the Book of Jonah a worm (in Hebrew tola’ath, “maggot”) bites the shade-giving plant’s root causing it to wither, while in the epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh plucks his plant from the floor of the sea which he reached by tying stones to his feet. Once he makes it back to the shore, the rejuvenating plant is eaten by a serpent.
Campbell also noted several similarities between the story of Jonah and that of Jason in Greek mythology. The Greek rendering of the name Jonah was Jonas, which differs from Jason only in the order of sounds both os are omegas suggesting that Jason may have been confused with Jonah. Gildas Hamel, drawing on the Book of Jonah and Greco-Romansources — including Greek vases and the accounts of Apollonius of Rhodes, Gaius Valerius Flaccus and Orphic Argonautica identifies a number of shared motifs, including the names of the heroes, the presence of a dove, the idea of “fleeing” like the wind and causing a storm, the attitude of the sailors, the presence of a sea-monster or dragon threatening the hero or swallowing him, and the form and the word used for the “gourd” (kikayon). Hamel takes the view that it was the Hebrew author who reacted to and adapted this mythological material to communicate his own, quite different message. “

The story of the saints teaching the remainder of mankind civilization after a deluge

What is of interest is that the 7 Sapta rishis in India where saved by “a big fish”  They where also said to propagate knowledge to man after a deluge.

The exact same story of wise men who thought mankind we find in Sumeria with the 7 apkalpu

in the form of Oannes. Johannes, Jonah, Noah and Jason are close derivatives. Cladded inside  “a fish”

These are the wise man that thought sumeria civilization. Yes correct, Sumeria was thought civilization, it did not originate there as modern academics claim.


Other Tree of life symbolism parallels between sumeria and the Mayan world

The Paralels in composition of the above Sumerian image to the Mayan temple of the foliated cross (another name for tree of life or milkyway) are quite striking, including the bird on the top of the tree of life (polestar)

We see the Makaras on the Maya tree of life on the cross bar.

The Makara in the Americas

As earlier pointed in my published researchpaper the relations of the Makara, where the Makara as such was cleared identified across the Americas in many different cultures and the aztec calender. Its upward snout the give away if you know where to look for. More of this in my Makara paper.

Moche Culture Makara

The upward pointed snout of the makara symbolism as seen in this indian depiction. Particularly notice the “two front legs” This is IDENTICAL to the depiction on the aztec sunstone and below on the “fire serpent” where the snakes also have two front legs and a “known” Makara identifier.

Image: The “makara”  in Sumerian art, particularly note the two front legs and the horn like head piece, like a Makara.

Image: Xiuhcoatl. Note the Makara upward snout and also the presence of only two front legs, identical to the sumerian image, stele 25 of Izapa and the Aztec calender  (Xiuhcoatl, fire serpent or year serpent.)

It is noteworth that carried an atlatl in the form of the XiuhCoatl, to this day, bishops still carry a “snake staff”


Also that in india, the makara was added to warclubs.

The figure emerging or being eaten by the Makara

Image from Codex Borbonicus, (Aztec Codex)

Image from Codex Telleriano-Remensis  (Aztec Codex)


We add to this initial observationof the Makara and its relation to American art,  the figure emerging, (or being disgorged) by the Makara/Snake/Dragon  as such, as it swops, by being head first or coming out of the snake.

With my current knowledge that the Makara is the milkyway, the 7 rishis sometimes seen as the stars of the big dipper in the middle of the big fish, a story starts to emerge which I will sumarize here below.

  • The americas speak over the periodical destruction of mankind.
  • The dragon or makara was sometimes seen as fire spitting. (meteorites or volcanoes)
  • The 7 rishi or sages story was linked to the stars and milkyway.
  • They were saved by ” a big fish” or spared destruction so they could propagate mankind again.
  • They thought Sumeria in the form of the apkallu. Known there also imagery of Oannes. The fish cloaked, or emerging from the fish. The fish could be the Makara boats they came in after the deluge.
  • The same knowledge reached the americas and the makara big fish image of the milkyway with the figure emerging
  • The alfa romeo logo took this image, from the visconti family and added the cross, another symbol for the milkyway

  • That is why the christian cross was so familiar to the american civilizations,  when thet were invaded. They also reverred the cross. The cross is the ecleptic and a synomym for the skies.
  • Varuna, riding the Makara and Chaac the rainwater god are identical. Chaac is a human figure “god” wearing a makara mask. There is a composite image of chaac, showing its build from makaras as pointed out in this article.

  • Makara boats where used in the Indus valley and Khmer civilisation. Because the milkyway big crocodile/fish was so revered, it obviously had big impact om their boats and temples, where we see Chaac, based of the makaras snout. That snout was initialy of an elephant, not present in the Americas.  Reed boats from the indus civilization are still seen on Lake Titicaca
  • Numerous names in Tiuhanacu are of indian/sanskrit descent. Like Kala for time.
  • Indra the Storm god and Varuna god of waters became the later Zeus and Poseidon of the greeks.

  • Phoenician boats like the Khmer boats and Greek galleys boasted a Makara design, like the Khmer civilisation, complete with curled up nose. One would only recognise this if one knew the link with the Makara and how this animal looked. This relation, has never been published anywhere before as one need to have made this specific correlations.
  • We see the Makara throughout the civilisations of the Americas, The Olmec, the Aztec, The Maya etc etc. This was clear part of ALL their cultures showing their descending relations.
  • The snake/crocodile could be simply related to the river, the river could flood,  the crocodile a fearsome river animal or its related to the milkyway itself devouring man periodically, like the Sisumara from the Purana clearly identifies the milkyway with the celestial crocodile. also known as the big fish or the dolphin to sages. Its shape can clearly be identified as, a makara or as a dolphin. Early boats where in Makara or dolphin shape.
  • The feathered serpent is identical to the Sisumara or Milkway and the peacock composite animal found in india known as Makara. It is also sometimes seen as a tree as in Izapa stele 25 with a crocodile with a foliated tale, symbolizing the tree of life. Stele 25, also has, if you look carefully a figure related to the Makara. His staff with 3 bars is the mastery over the 3 worlds.


That same staff  AND the fish symbolism of the sages/oannes  is still used today in the form of the fish head mitre of the pope and the 3 bar staff. Therefore Pope Gregory IX, whose name was Tedaldo Visconti (1210-1276)  and its relations to this particular story starts to strengthen as well.


Also the double snake staff is of importance with the jewel inside

As that is also nothing new as the opposing snakes or dragons can be seen in the Makara symbolism of indian  makara bracelets common in older india.

Let us continue to “the man in the snake symbolism”  as also seen above here on the aztec calender, again, with the typical upward coiling elephant Makara snout. Elephants where not present in the Americas.

Could the man in the snake symbol be a symbol that represents the periodical destruction of mankind symbolized as Makara, Chaos devouring man in relation to the Milkyway , The evil serpent in the tree (of life) that chased man out of the “garden of eden” the ideal civilisation at the time, or is it the opposite symbolizing we actualy are born from the milkyway, coming out of the dragon.

Note again the upward makara snout.


We continue to below gallery of images where you can see these similarites between the western Visconti symbolism, stolen form a saracen knight and the relations between India and the Americas for yourself.


The story of the Makara (big fish crocodile)  is global. It was used extensively in ship design by the Khmer and Phoenicians and also in the Indus civilziation and the dragon ships of the Vikings. By default related to the milky way, riding the celestial ocean.

Hidden in the Puranas as Sisumara  a representation of the milky way and the 7 sages as the big dipper.. That in itself also hides a second story, the story of the 7 sages riding in or saved by the big fish.

The 7 sages that brought civilisation after a deluge, where saved by a great fish. The fish like sages that (re)started the  Sumerian civilization. The milky way is a like a river, the river harbours the man eating crocodiles. The river can flood. Are these metaphor’s for a real river flooding or the milky way ending mankind periodically. The devouring of mankind by the celestial crocodile.

There is a deep underlying message to all of this shared by the cultures across the world. History that is now almost lost or not completely known to man how these cultures related and why they share such unique symbolism worldwide and what the symbolism actually ment.

It proves the diffusionist theory by showing deeply rooted similarities in culture across the pacific. and  goes against the assumption that civilisations developed independently with similarities, as the Makara is a composite animal not known in nature and these are deep underlying astronomical concepts. To add a figure to the Makara finishes the argument with the isolationist.

There are also clear links to the catholic church, the fish symbolism in the Mitrs, the saints/sages.

The snake  (milkyway)  in the tree of life (sky) indeed expelled adam and eve out of the garden of eden after they ate from the tree (perhaps the polestar and precession), yet it seems a the story of a lost civilisation and the periodical destruction of civilisation or of the nature of things that time devours all. Is it perhaps the story of the Yuga cycles, that is to vague to answer, but the current catholic church seems to be “the sages of this time” and keepers of the milkyway cross knowledge,  as every destruction 7 new sages arrise to teach mankind civilization so this cycle might happen again.

We should investigate these cultural links further and see what the exact message was conveyed to us by indian and american civilizations and take their stories of Yuga cycles and new suns more serious as who are we to think our civilisation will last forever.

This article is only the tip of a very large iceberg of lost world history and lost symbolism carved on Indian and american temples but a very important one to figure out.

Stijn van den Hoven — 26/7/2018


Aditional comments on photos

The artificer emerges out of the snout of the makara. Fragment in the shape of Asura rising up from the mouth of Makara water monster, carved sandstone, 10th-11th century CE. Quang Nam province, central Vietnam. Decoration exterior of roof corner of Cham temple.
A makara disgorging human figures, frequently a warrior, is a recurring theme in the history of Cham art. An early example cornes from the reredos of the Dông Du’o’ng temple (Boisselier 1963 a : Fig. 56). We find it here some two centuries later, where the makara head accentuates the pointed and spiky features, with a row of sharp teeth continued by a row of similarly shaped foliage decorations.
The makara ‘s elephantine nose has been made into a towering curved spike that exactly mimics the animal’s huge fangs. The drapery of the garment and the pointed headgear of the warrior brandishing a weapon, place the composition in the Thu Thiên group of the Chành Lô style.
“Some Remarkable Cham sculptures in American Museums” Natasha Eilenberg, Robert L. Brown
A warrior in the jaw of makara in Kiradu temple, Rajasthan. Makara is human, karA ‘crocodile’ signifies khAr ‘blacksmith’.
Makara 12th cent. Sandstone
Photograph of the Hindu goddess Ganga, the deified Ganges River, atop her mount, the Makara, a mythical crocodile-like underwater creature (who often has an elephant-like trunk). Her left arm rests on a dwarf attendant’s shoulder. In her right hand, she holds a kumbha, or pot of water. A small boy, or gana,
symbolizing youthfulness and life, is shown engaging the makara. From Besnagar, Bhopal State (now part of Madhya Pradesh), India. Date of sculpture: Gupta Period India, 5th or 6th century CE. Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David. Date of photograph: 1875. Now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, United States.
Extreem good contributions might have been made by this indian blogger stating the words used in language are REBUS. Meaning they mean something else. He compare the Makaras to blacksmiths. This is someting to look into further.
Some more reading:

The Other Face of the Makara

Steven Darian
Artibus Asiae
Vol. 38, No. 1 (1976), pp. 29-36 (8 pages)
Published by: Artibus Asiae Publishers
DOI: 10.2307/3250095
It is also said the figure in the makare is a Gana, a dwarf figure in indian art.


Arts Asiatiques
Vol. 6, No. 1 (1959), pp. 33-58 (26 pages)
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1 thought on “The snake/dragon/crocodile who devoured man, cross pacific cultural symbolism”

  1. Great research and collection of photos. I’ve found that you start to find more stuff when you know what you are looking for. Otherwise it just stares at us in plain sight and we completely ignore it.

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