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The Lost Khmer Temples

Posted By : chauthihoaithuong/ 5 0

When Europeans first saw mysterious ruins in the forests far east of Ayutthaya, they thought they had found an ancient Chinese, or even Greek, civili zation. It was not until the 19th century that the history of the Khmers, who ruled an area covering much of modern Cambodia and Northeast Thailand from the 9th to 14th centuries, began to be uncovered. The Khmers are now acknowledged to have been among the world’s greatest architects. Many sites can be visited in Thailand today; in Cambodia, restoration of Angkor, the old capital, is ongoing

Bas-reliefs of battles adorning the walls of many Khmer sites not only display the creative and technical abilities of the Khmer craftsmen, but have also helped scholars to write Khmer history. The Khmers’ main adversaries were the Thais: in 1444 Ayutthaya finally took Angkor, and the Khmer Empire was vanquished.

Romance of the Great Temples Khmer temple complexes were built to symbolize kingship and the universe and are awesome in their scale and beauty. The Thais borrowed elements of Khmer temple design, and a scale model, made in 1922, of Angkor Wat, the largest complex, stands at Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaeo. European views of romantic ruins abound, as exemplified by engravings such as this, made in 1866–8. A reconstruction of Angkor Wat was also the centerpiece of the 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris.

The gently smiling faces of the Buddha at the Bayon of Angkor Thom have found their way onto posters, book covers, and, here, the score of a 1921 foxtrot.

was the main object of worship at the cen ter of many Khmer temples. It is a phallus representing the creative force of the Hindu god Shiva

Scenes from the Ramayana, an ancient Indian epic, are found at many Khmer temples, and probably directly inspired the Thai version, the Ramakien

Marc Riboud, a photographer for the renowned Magnum agency, visited Angkor in the 1960s and 1980s. He took some of the most evocative and widely published pictures of Angkor before and after the war in Cambodia

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