Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mum's the word

A pal of mine mentioned the Phnom Penh Museum of Ethnology to me tonight and though I'd heard of it, I've not yet had the pleasure of visiting it. And I don't think too many others have either. For starters, it's not widely known about and is housed in the Tuol Kork home of an individual, so effectively it's a vast private collection. The man responsible for it is historian and ethnologist Dr Michel Tranet, a former undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and those that have seen his Aladdin's Cave of treasures say it's an eclectic but thoroughly fascinating collection of cultural artifacts stretching back way before the time of Angkor. It includes bronzes, manuscripts, sandstone carvings and much more besides. The study of ethnology usually means the comparison and analysis of the origins, distribution, religion, language, and social structure of nations or ethnic groups. There are museums under the same moniker in Vietnam and Laos but I believe the Phnom Penh version differs greatly. In its current form, it's at best a huge personal collection of artifacts assembled by an individual over many decades. At worst, it's a hotchpotch of stuff rarely seen by outsiders. However, if you see the sign on the side of the road, Museum of Ethnology, ring the doorbell and see if you can get a look inside.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have written and published a book about Cambodia's financial instruments. The title is Cambodia Coins & Currency and it is for sale in Monument Books. I have heard that Dr. Michel Tranet donated his coin collection to a museum that is being built by the National Bank. I would very much like to meet you and Dr. Tranet during my next visit to S.E. Asia between this coming November and March. How can I contact you and Dr. Tranet?

May 30, 2015 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi, I don't know how to contact Dr Tranet as I've never met him. Try and find his home in Toul Kork I would suggest, after asking around at the National Museum, etc for confirmation of his private museum.
best wishes.

June 1, 2015 at 12:57 AM  

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