Monday, October 27, 2008

Unsolved mystery?

A mystery face in a sandstone niche at S2 temple in Prasat Yeay Poeun group
These mysterious faces can be found inside the Mandapa entrance tower that stands in front of the central tower of Prasat Yeay Poeun, the Southern grouping of temples of the Sambor Prei Kuk complex in Kompong Thom province. Inside the tower is a sandstone canopy that experts have suggested is derived from Indian inspiration, Champa or even the Greeks during the Hellenistic period and which contains a dozen of these richly carved faces, these were the better preserved examples. The square canopy is also carved with floral and vegetal designs on all sides. The inside of the tower is difficult to access now after a collapse of the shrine in August 2006 because of heavy rain. An inscription at the site suggests this temple was dedicated to Shiva and an image of Nandi, the bull, may've been placed under the canopy. Other examples of small faces in niches, but without the tight-curly hair and moustache, can be found at the Asram Moha Issey at Sambor and at Phnom Hanchey. The faces certainly do not look Khmer and in a certain light remind me of the Three Musketeers!
Regular readers of this blog will recognise d'Artagnan from The Three Musketeers!
The faces alternate between looking left or right, but are definitely non-Khmer
This face appears to be wearing a crown above its curly hair
Greek, Champa, Indian, French? - anyone know the answer?
This face in a niche is less distinct than the others
Another face with a crown and a large bushy moustache and eyebrows
The floral designs on the sides of the canopy at Prasat Yeay Poeun


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are not Khmer, they are probably the Roman or the Persian.
Khmer traded with those people in that time.

March 5, 2009 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger DatASIA said...

Andy you are amazing! I'm discovering this article more than three years after you posted it thanks to a discussion on the Cambodian academic newsgroup.

As you say, clearly these men came from foreign lands. Great post...sorry it took me so long to thank you! (-:

March 18, 2012 at 9:22 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older