Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Angkor's Sacred Heritage

In September I mentioned the forthcoming exhibition to be held in Germany, called Angkor - Sacred Heritage of Cambodia. Read more here. It will run from mid-December until April 2007 in Bonn and then move to Berlin and Zurich. Some 130 pieces from the National Museum in Phnom Penh, the Angkor Conservation in Siem Reap and the Battambang museum will actually leave Cambodia while other objects will be loaned to the exhibition from the National Museum in Bangkok and the Guimet Museum in Paris. The 119 pieces from the National Museum in Phnom Penh include 59 stone, seven wooden and 43 bronze artworks, plus seven paintings and three palm-leaf books, and while the artworks are absent, the museum will replace them with items from its vast reserve collection, which are usually kept housed in the basement.

In the brand new issue of Orientations, the leading Asian art magazine (Vol 37, No 8, Nov/Dec issue), published in Hong Kong and available on subscription here, the joint curators of the exhibition, Helen Jessup and Wibke Lobo, highlight many objects which were archaeologically retrieved during the French colonial period in Cambodia. Ang Choulean explores the traditions of the linga in Cambodia, while Hab Touch and Lucie Folan of the National Museum describe instances where sculptures have been reconstituted through recent international efforts. In another article, Helen Jessup pays tribute to some of the individuals who have been responsible for Cambodia's current cultural renaissance, whilst Dougald O'Reilly comments on the looting of Cambodia's historic sites. This issue of Orientations, a specialist magazine that has been running for over thirty-five years, is a must for Cambodia enthusiasts.

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