Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wat Phnom explained

A quick visit to Monument Books this week brought three more titles into my collection, notably an introduction to the pagoda central to the heart of Phnom Penh, Wat Phnom: Guide to Art & Architecture. Published by Chan's Arts late last year, the book is written by Chan Vitharong, an architecture graduate of the Royal University of Fine Arts and goes into great detail about the structures on top of Wat Phnom, as well as the intricate paintings that decorate its walls and ceilings. The 122-page book sells for $17 at Monument. The two main structures atop the small, man-made hill are the Preah Vihear, which houses the principle Buddha image, known as Preah Ang Chi and the spire known as Chedey Thom, rising some 33 metres in height. Did you know there are another 31 smaller satellite chedeys in the Wat Phnom compound? No, neither did I. If you knew nothing about Wat Phnom, other than it was the place where dowager Daun Penh kept the small statues she found floating in the river inside a big koki tree, then this book will enlighten you further. My other purchases were Walter Mason's Destination Cambodia and an official visitors guidebook to the World Heritage site of Wat Phu in southern Laos. 

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