Public Lecture: Image & Reality

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If you’re in Canberra, Australia next week:

Public Lecture: Image & Reality

The talk will discuss the presentation of daily life in bas-reliefs on the outer walls of two 12th/13th century temples in Cambodia: the Bayon at Angkor and its rural twin, Banteay Chhmar, in north-west Cambodia.

Dr. Aedeen Cremin will try to relate the scenes to the archaeological material discovered over the past century, and also consider the purpose and scope of the images. How realistic were they? Who were they for? Did they serve a religious purpose, or a political one, or both?

This talk will also draw attention to the 5000 photographs of temples of Cambodia, Java and S. Vietnam, now in the National Library of Australia’s Coffin Collection.

This lecture is part of the 2007 Public Lecture Series presented by the Canberra Archaeological Society. It is proudly sponsored by the School of Archaeology & Anthropology, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences.

Speaker/Host: Dr. Aedeen Cremin
Venue: Manning Clark Centre: Theatre 6
Date: Wednesday, 15 August 2007
Time: 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Website: http://www.cas.asn.au/
Enquiries: Katarina Boljkovac on 0432 344 933, Stephanie Hill

Cambodia's temple tranquility

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28 July 2007 (The Courier Mail) – A travel piece about the Angkor temples in Cambodia, skimming over Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Preah Khan and Banteay Srei. Has some practical advice in avoiding the crowds too, although be careful about several spelling errors in the text (eg, Banteay Srei, Suryavarman II).

Cambodia’s temple tranquility

I always thought that visiting Cambodia’s Angkor temples would be like exploring a lost city.

For many years I had heard tales of crumbling ruins hidden from time by steamy triple-canopy jungle that echoed with birdsong and the call of mysterious animals.

I imagined walking along jungle tracks, coming upon a faded ruin only after the last strike of a guide’s machete cleared an overgrown patch of scrub. But the reality of Siem Reap’s Angkor is this: hordes of tourists and well-worn paths leading to crowded temples.

Pick the wrong time of the day to visit Angkor Wat, the most famous of the region’s temple complexes and the symbol on the Cambodian flag, and you’ll be sharing the site with thousands.

The tour buses start arriving mid-morning and drop their passengers on the other side of the moat, with tourists flooding across the Naga Causeway to the dusty temple compound.

While Angkor is now firmly on the tourist track there are still ways to guarantee that you get to see the temples without being surrounded by hundreds of other people, and one is to pick the time of the day you visit.

Start early, and head into the temples while they are still quiet.

Read the full travel piece on Angkor here.

If you’re planning a holiday in Angkor, some books you’d find useful include:
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques
Ancient Angkor (River Book Guides) by C. Jaques
The Treasures of Angkor: Cultural Travel Guide (Rizzoli Art Guide) by M. Albanese
Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples, Fifth Edition by D. Rooney and P. Danford

Angkor Blog

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Keeping with the Angkor theme for this past few days, here’s a website I found about the art and architecture of Angkor, the Angkor Blog.

The Angkor Blog

The name is really a misnomer – it’s not really a blog, but rather a well-indexed information site. Sidestepping the usual touristy information about Angkor Wat and how to get around Siem Reap, this site focuses mainly on the temples, the iconography and the mythology that is depicted on the bas-reliefs and scultpure of Angkor. Plenty of pictures and videos so that you know what is being talked about, as well as links to primary texts like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana to explain the various events depicted in art.

That’s it for the series of features on Angkor! If all goes well, I should be returning home today and archaeological news updates will resume tomorrow.