Friday, April 30, 2010

Off to the bronze show

The garuda from the Koh Ker temple complex that stands at the entrance to the National Museum
I visited the National Museum in Phnom Penh today, accompanying a group of mature cyclists from the USA and I noticed there were a lot of top quality bronze items not on display. Then I remembered that there's an exhibition of the best 36 pieces opening up in Washington next month for the rest of the year. The Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery will host the exhibits under the title, Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia. The exhibition will then move to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in February next year. So be prepared for some near-empty display cabinets for a long while. The fascinating story of bronze sculpture and casting in Cambodia is revealed through these thirty-six exceptional works. Magnificent examples dating from the prehistoric period to the post-Angkorian period (third century BC to sixteenth century) present the origins, uses, and techniques of bronze casting and the development of a distinctly Cambodian style. This exhibition is the result of an ongoing partnership between the Freer and Sackler Galleries and the National Museum of Cambodia. The museums have worked together to establish a metals conservation laboratory in Cambodia, the first over here. Seven of the works on view, discovered in 2006, are among the first bronzes conserved in the lab by the staff of the National Museum.
The face of the garuda at the National Museum
The statue of Yama in the courtyard, that used to sit atop the Terrace of the Leper King in Angkor Thom
The inside courtyard at the National Museum
Cambodia might see the arrival of celebrity television chef Gordon Ramsay sooner than expected. His culinary travels for his Gordon's Great Escape tv series have brought him to this part of the globe with filming intended for Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam. With the troubles brewing in Bangkok, he might just decide to hop over the border and begin filming in Cambodia sooner than expected. If you hear a commotion in any restaurant kitchen, poke your head around the door and you might just see Gordon strutting his stuff.

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