As well as its clearly phallic connotations, the serpent embodies a number of different symbolic values. The power to give life - implicit in the fertility symbol - is allied to great knowledge. The power to slough off its skin implied mortality - often represented by a coiled serpent.
Hand combat with a python , Borneo.
Snake charmers got the king cobras mesmerised, India.
Python on my shoulder
Dangerous exhibition to earn a living - take the cobra by its head, Cambodia.
Medicine seller-cum-snake charmer, Sunday market, Ipoh
Share the ride with a slinker, Cambodia
Kiss a snake
Skeleton of a gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica), showing arrangement of vertebrae.