Friday, October 24, 2008

In the dark

A dancing figure, possibly Indra on the back of a makara on a 7th century lintel in the gloom of the Kompong Thom museum
Let me apologise up front for the quality of these photos. The "museum" in Kompong Thom is not a museum, rather a dusty, long-forgotten storage hall where some of the province's best sculptural exhibits were left to rot and decay many moons ago. The pictures are so poor because the room doesn't have any natural light and in fact has just one strip light that barely emits any light at all. To photograph these exhibits properly would require professional photography lighting, which I don't carry around with me, as a rule! Flash photography is a no-no, as it just washes out the stone artwork. They are currently building an intimately tiny museum on the road to Siem Reap but it is so small as to not be worth the trouble, but I hope they prove me wrong. There are some fine examples in the cobweb-strewn storage hall at the fine arts headquarters opposite the Arunras Hotel - including half a dozen inscription steles and a host of lintels - though few know its actually there and with the appalling lighting and having to navigate an obstacle-course to see some of the objects up close, a visit is hard work.
A stylized female devata figure with ornamental headdress carrying a lotus flower
3 lingas taken using camera-flash though they appear washed out as a result
This well-ornamented devata in a niche appears almost Banteay Srei in style
I found this quite rare somasutra head under a table. It would've been at the end of the channel where holy water leaves the sanctity of the temple.

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