Friday, August 13, 2010

Beautiful devata

A few days ago I brought you a series of giant faces from the Bayon temple at Angkor. Now its the turn of the devata who adorn the walls of Angkor Wat. Often mistakenly called Apsaras, these heavenly or sacred maidens number 1,796 at the last count. In 1926 Sappho Marchal counted 1,737 devata but probably didn't count some of the hidden ones and those located on the top towers. And all of them are different and unique, with a dizzying array of headdresses, costumes and adornments. It's an amazing feat of decoration that can be found on numerous temples inside the Angkor Park and wider afield at such places as Banteay Chhmar, Phnom Bok, Wat Athvea, Beng Mealea and Wat Phu in southern Laos. Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the most recognisable symbol in Cambodia today and the devata share that limelight in all their glory. For a detailed look at the devata of Angkor Wat then you should look no further than here.



Blogger Chuck said...

Much prefer the Apsaras that do not have the "polished look "

August 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi Chuck,
well its all down to opinions. actually I like both. The polished look sorta brings them to life a bit more for me I must admit. The devata on the very top level of Angkor Wat are generally not polished but the ones at the level below are. Polished by the sweaty hands of thousands of visitors over the years. It is what it is and we must remember that Angkor Wat has been open to all throughout the centuries, even when the other temples were left to rot under the tide of vegetation and in ruins.

August 16, 2010 at 3:03 PM  

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