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