I would like to know if the idea of "ocean of samsara," or "ocean of rebirth," or "ocean of suffering," with monsters (makara) ready to swallow was depicted in the iconography of India, Central Asia or China before, say, the 9th c. AD. Up to now, I have failed to find a precise example combining these features.
A bibliography or specific examples would be greatly appreciated
Etienne de la Vaissière
Central Asian Medieval Societies