Thursday, March 12, 2009

Amongst the best?

One of the beautiful lintels to be found at Bakong in Roluos
The sandstone lintels that can be found adorning the eight brick towers that surround the base of the central pyramid temple of Bakong in the Roluos Group near Siem Reap, are considered by many who know their stuff, as amongst the very finest lintels in Khmer art. Later today I'll post some photos of most of the lintels in situ so you can judge for yourself. They date from the late 9th century, the reign of King Indravarman I and whilst they are rich with figures, their central motif is usually a kala with vegetal garlands and makaras or nagas appearing at the ends. I visited Bakong a few weeks ago and whilst I agree they are very beautiful lintels, their narratives are bested by other lintels I've seen on my travels, though perhaps not in such high numbers as can be found at Bakong. More to come.
Finer detail from the lintel above. The central figure is Vishvakarma sitting astride kala who is spewing garlands, upon which 4 figures are riding elephants. There are sea makaras at each end, lots of floral scrolling and a line of acolytes at the very top of the lintel.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,
I was amazed by the beauty of the selfsame lintel you've posted in yr blog and also puzzled by its intricacy and its many figures of gods ans monsters. I wd like to get more familiar with the gods, demons and divinities of the Khmer mythology, the same way I did many years ago with the Greek pantheon of heroes and mythic creatures. Wd you pls recommend me some book to that effect?
Love yr blog, Sylvia

March 12, 2009 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Dear Sylvia,
its my pleasure to recommend a fantastic resource for all the iconography you will find on Khmer temples inside and outside Cambodia.
The book is Images of the Gods: Khmer mythology in Cambodia, Laos & Thailand, by Vittorio Roveda and published by River Books. 544 pages and a cd with lots more besides. A truly exceptional resource.

March 12, 2009 at 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
thank you very much for your attention.
Best Regards, Sylvia

March 13, 2009 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger O.B. Wright said...

Good choice of recommendation, Andy. It's both entertaining and informative.

March 20, 2009 at 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
I have purchased Roveda's book recommended by you and wd like to thank you once more for your precious tip. Indeed, its a fantastic resource that enabled me to interpret my own photographs of the many carvings I'd registered on my trip to Cambodia and its beautiful temples.
Thank you, very much

May 14, 2009 at 10:53 PM  

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