Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sitting quietly and unnoticed

This stone statue of Nandin the bull sits to the north of the museum and has recently been painted gold
There were a few things I didn't get an explanation for when I visited the National Museum in Phnom Penh as part of the Open Doors Weekend though I think its just a matter of finding the right person to ask. I've already posted about the two bronze elephant statues that stand guard in front of the museum but there are other items that are worth more investigation as well. These include some large bronze maritime bells that sit on the steps to the building's side entrances - I'm reliably informed they used to hang in the bell-tower of the Catholic Cathedral located in Russei Keo district before it was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge - old and weather-worn wooden window shutters depicting Buddhist murals and other miscellaneous sculptures that aren't part of the museum's main collection. Incidentally at any one time there are just under 2,000 items on display with another 12,ooo+ items in storage and out of eyesight. Most of the statues in the gardens are reproductions but there's the odd gem or two still to be found.
This is a simple female deity, probably Lakshmi, from around the 12thC. It sits alone at the rear of the museum.
This is another bronze statue commemorating something but its in pieces and not easy to recognise
One of 3 wooden doorways in the Hall of Bronzes, this one shows a mythical lion-beast
One of 12 wooden window shutters in the Hall of Bronzes showing murals
It is believed these Buddhist murals were painted by students in the Faculty of Fine Arts
These wooden window shutters contain Buddhist murals in traditional poses
A female Buddhist figure on one of the window panels
A couple of large bronze Bells adorn the front steps of the museum - they used to hang in the Catholic Cathedral before it was destroyed
The inscription on this Bell offers up 'Angeline' and 1954
This wooden doorway with the praying figure was created by members of the Faculty of Fine Arts
On the right of this picture a massive wooden pediment can be found above the doorway but it is so blackened through time that its hard to make it out
The tell-tale Naga-style roof of the National Museum
Two very old statues, one still breathing, the other a 10thC Garuda from Koh Ker. You can see the wooden window shutters in the background.



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