Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tower N7 in the northern group, known as the Prasat Sambor group, has a wealth of interesting and quite well preserved flying palacesThe flying palaces of Sambor Prei Kuk deserve a few more pictures to highlight this unique decorative feature of the brick-built temples of the 7th century. So Sokuntheary, a Khmer-born archaeologist who has worked extensively at Angkor and Sambor as part of a team from Japan's Waseda University, joined our recent visit to Sambor and told us that 288 separate temples had been identified in the area, ranging from the larger structures such as Prasat Tao to small mounds of broken bricks. Under the guidance of Waseda, more excavations are currently taking place and new discoveries are being made to further enhance the reservoir of knowledge about this former capital city of the Chenla empire. The central characters in the palaces are likely deities or royalty and it looks to me that a male figure is usually the central character, flanked by two female attendants or wives though the passage of time has weathered the brick carving to make it difficult for my untrained eye to see. At the foot of the palaces are mythical creatures supporting the palace facade. All very unique though I have seen versions of flying palaces at other locations such at Phnom Bayang close to the Vietnam border in southern Cambodia.
A flying palace on the wall of tower N15 has deities and outward-facing makaras on the upper register