Friday, February 6, 2009

Back in the day

A faceless devata on the wall of Temple U in a typical Bayon style dress
Delving into history, it was King Yasovarman II in the middle of the 12th century that began building the Preah Pithu group, though it continued through the 13th and into the 14th century. There's a mix of Hindu and Buddhist iconography at the temples, with Temple X full of friezes of Buddha. The French conservators of EFEO restored the temples in 1908 and 1920 and it's worth scouting around the fallen stones and fragments on the ground surrounding the main shrines for a few gems of sculpted stone. Back in time Yasovarman was assassinated and Angkor was sacked by the invading Chams and abandoned before being revitalised by the king of kings, Jayavarman VII from 1181 onwards who went onto construct the Bayon, Ta Prohm and many more temples. Here are a final flurry of photos from Temple U or Monument 482 as it's also known, one of the five shrines of the Preah Pithu group.
This lintel looks unfinished and could represent Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana above a grinning kala
On this corner stone, a devata is accompanied by a dvarapala guardian with his mace
A complete dvarapala standing guard, ready to repel invaders, on the wall of Temple U
Vishvakarma, who symbolises the idea of a powerful god and of central power, sits above a kala with typical Bayon floral relief either side
This dvarapala guardian appears to have lost his feet in the restoration of the temple in the early 1900s
Devatas at different levels populate the walls of Temple U
This wall decoration of dancing figures is above a window opening
A fallen stone column with more dancing figures inside medallions

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