Faces from Angkor Wat still around today?

2 Comments

The Independent’s story about Kent Davis’ ongoing work to analyse the apsara/devata features on Angkor Wat. Having determined at least 8 facial types from the apsaras/devatas from the walls of Angkor Wat, is it possible to see if these facial features still survive among the locals at Angkor?

AngkorWat carvings, Angkor, Cambodia (3)
photo credit: ScubaBeer


The 12th-century facebook of Angkor Wat

The Independent, 06 September 2010
Read More

Apsara head returns home

1 Comment

09 August 2007 (CCTV International) – A follow-up from the return of the stolen apsara head reported last week, this story also has a video clip attached to it, although I haven’t been able to access it using firefox myself.

Cambodian artifact returns home

The U.S. government has returned a stolen sculpted head that belongs to Cambodia’s cultural heritage. The Angkor-era sculpture, is one of many artifacts that is stolen and smuggled out of the country every year.

The 2-kilogram artifact, is the sandstone head of an apsara, or a celestial dancer from the 12th century. It was smuggled out of Cambodia in violation of a 2003 bilateral agreement to protect Cambodia’s cultural heritage. The artifact was seized by U.S. law enforcement agents earlier this year.

Joseph A. Mussomeli, U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, said, “People talk a lot about the need for Khmer culture to be preserved but not enough is done so we’re very grateful and happy that our police and other law-enforcement agencies are focussed on this issue. We cannot really expect Cambodia to move ahead into the future if it doesn’t have enough understanding of its past

Read – and view – the story about the stolen apsara head.

For more books about the scultpure of Angkoran, look up:
Images of the Gods: Khmer Mythology in Cambodia, Laos & Thailand by V. Roveda
Temple Art Icons and Culture of India and South East Asia by K. V. Raman
Arts of Southeast Asia (World of Art) by F. Kerlogue
Art & Architecture of Cambodia (World of Art) by H. I. Jessup
Adoration and Glory: The Golden Age of Khmer Art by E. C. Bunker and D. Latchford
Narrative Sculpture and Literary Traditions in South and Southeast Asia (Studies in Asian Art and Archaeology) by J. Fontein and M. J. Klokke (Eds)
Khmer Mythology: Secrets Of Angkor Wat by V. Roveda
Apsarases at Angkor Wat, in Indian context by K. M. Srivastava

Stolen apsara head returned to Cambodia

1 Comment

30 July 2007 (The Associate Press, by way of the Gainsville Sun and featured on many other American newspapers) – A stolen Apsara (celestial nymph) head is recovered in the US and returned to Cambodia. Because of their weight, the heads of Cambodian sculptures are often taken in lieu of the entire sculpture. As in the case of many of these artefacts, the heads have often gone into the hands of private collectors and this head is unlikely to be matched to its original location. Check out the podcast featuring the interview with Dr. Dougald O’Reilly of Heritage Watch to find out more about the illicit trade in Cambodian artefacts.

U.S. Returns Stolen Artifact to Cambodia

The U.S. government returned to Cambodia the head of an Angkor-era sculpture that had been stolen and smuggled out of the Southeast Asian country.

The artifact, weighing about 4.4 pounds, is a sandstone head of a celestial dancer, or apsara, from the 12th century, the U.S. Embassy said Monday in a statement.

It said the object was smuggled out of Cambodia into the United States in violation of a 2003 agreement between the two countries that aims to protect Cambodia’s cultural heritage. The statement did not say when the item was stolen, and was not immediately known who held the sculpture in the United States.

Read more about the recovery of the stolen Apsara head.

Interested in reading up on Angkoran sculpture? Read up:
Images of the Gods: Khmer Mythology in Cambodia, Laos & Thailand by V. Roveda
Temple Art Icons and Culture of India and South East Asia by K. V. Raman
Arts of Southeast Asia (World of Art) by F. Kerlogue
Art & Architecture of Cambodia (World of Art) by H. I. Jessup
Adoration and Glory: The Golden Age of Khmer Art by E. C. Bunker and D. Latchford
Narrative Sculpture and Literary Traditions in South and Southeast Asia (Studies in Asian Art and Archaeology) by J. Fontein and M. J. Klokke (Eds)
Khmer Mythology: Secrets Of Angkor Wat by V. Roveda
Apsarases at Angkor Wat, in Indian context by K. M. Srivastava

Apsara dancers of Angkor

No Comments

23 September 2006 (The Star)

The Star, 23 Sep 2006
Apsara dancers of Angkor

I was surrounded by apsara everywhere I turned. They were on walls and pillars, lintels and window frames. An apsara has been variously described as a female divinity, a heavenly dancer and a celestial nymph. An apsara is skilled in dance and music, and said to be irresistible to men. Although they were all carved in stone, I observed that each apsara showed slightly different characteristics, either in facial expression, pose or costume and adornments. I was fascinated by the headdresses and trinkets worn by the dancers and noticed that they had ears stretched by heavy earrings. Elongated ear lobes remind one of Lord Buddha. All the apsaras were presented bare-breasted and they were generously endowed. I think some visitors have not been able to resist rubbing and touching the sculptures because certain parts of the anatomy of a few of these sculptures have been rubbed almost black. Fortunately such vandalism and disrespectful behaviour is not widespread.


Related Books:
Images of the Gods: Khmer Mythology in Cambodia, Laos & Thailand by V. Roveda
Narrative Sculpture and Literary Traditions in South and Southeast Asia (Studies in Asian Art and Archaeology) by J. Fontein and M. J. Klokke (Eds)
Apsarases at Angkor Wat, in Indian context by K. M. Srivastava