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Sareungka Matsaya (ศฤงคมัสยา)

Thai-Sanskrit. Name of a mythological creature, described as a magical, large and fierce-looking fish, with huge jaws, and a unicorn, i.e. a single horn on its forehead. In Thai-Buddhist tradition, it is described as an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, who had descended to the earth in the form of a fish, in order to help drag a boat at the time when the world was flooded. In Hinduism, this avatar or incarnation of Vishnu is known as Matsya (fig.) and in Hindu legend, he appears to fight Shankasura, the demon or asura that stole the four Vedas from Brahma (fig.). In the Hindu story, Vishnu's consort or shakti incarnated with him, which in iconography is usually portrait as a creature half-woman half-fish (fig.), whereas Matsya is depicted as half-man half-fish. Also transliterated Saringka Matsya.