• The Sacred

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The Way

Besides being one of the most dangerous snakes in the world, the King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), found mostly in India and Southeast Asia, is the world's longest venomous snake, with a length up to 18.8 ft. In Burma, King Cobras are often used by female snake charmers. The charmer is usually tattooed with three pictograms, using an ink mixed with snake venom while superstition holds that it protects the charmer from the snake. At the end of a ceremony, the charmer kisses the snake on the top of its head. While on the Indian subcontinent, the King Cobra is believed to possess exceptional memory. According to myth, the picture of the killer of a king cobra "stays in" the eyes of the snake, which is later picked up by the partner and is used to hunt down the killer for revenge. To demonstrate this theory, a King Cobra was captured and left free in an enclosure that had small openings. Several people stood in front of the openings, but the snake rose to its full height and locked eyes only with the captor. Because of this myth, whenever a cobra is killed, especially in India, the head is either crushed or burned to damage the eyes completely.

craig morse2012culture subcultureculturesubculturethe voice of eyefine artcultural anthropologycolorgraphic artcompositesymboliciconicspiritualreligiousmysteriousmysticalmetaphysicalesotericphilosophicalsupernaturalmodern archaeologytranscendentalKing CobrasnakevenomIndiaSoutheast Asia