Photoshoot featuring topless woman in Angkorian temple raises uproar

Topless woman at Banteay Kdei. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150126

Photos of a topless woman posing in an Angkorian temple appeared in the internet over the weekend, drawing many protests and comments about propriety in what are essentially religious sites. The creators of the photos are thought to be a group based in China, although the specific parties have not been identified.

Topless woman at Banteay Kdei. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150126
Topless woman at Banteay Kdei. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150126

Nude photos draw Apsara Authority’s ire
Phnom Penh Post, 26 January 2015

Apsara Authority Slams ‘Pornographic’ Photos
Cambodia Daily, 26 January 2015

Hindus Upset At Pornographic Filming At Angkor [Link no longer active]
Updated news, 26 January 2015

Protest against shooting of pornographic pictures near Angkor Wat Temple
Bihar Prabha, 26 January 2015

Racy photos depicting a topless Apsara dancer reclining amid Angkorian ruins have incensed the government agency responsible for Angkor Park.

Shortly after the photos hit Facebook on Saturday, the Apsara Authority launched an investigation, and yesterday released a statement condemning the images as a tasteless affront to Khmer culture.

“Angkor is a religious, sacred site for Cambodian people. This kind of behaviour is very insulting not just to our religion but also to Khmer identity,” said Kerya Chau Sun, the spokesperson for Apsara Authority.

The controversial photos bear a watermark for “WANIMAL,” which Apsara Authority officials said they believe to be a Chinese company.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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