The focus of the project is the Angkorian period complex of Preah Khan of Kompong Svay (Preah Khan), today located in southwest Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. Preah Khan is one of the most enigmatic enclosure complexes built by the Angkorian Khmer Empire, the pre-eminent polity in mainland Southeast Asia between the late 10th to early 13th centuries. Situated 100km east of the capital of Angkor, Preah Khan is the largest complex built during this period comprising four concentric wall systems that today enclose an area of roughly 22km2. Like many regional sites of the Angkorian period the majority of previous research at Preah Khan focused on the masonry history and epigraphic records. This history suggests that the site was initially established in the late 10th to early 11th century, specifically during the reign of Suryavarman I, and was subsequently expanded by influential rulers such as Suryavarman II and Jayavarman VII. A striking feature about the art historic character of Preah Khan is its strong affinity towards Buddhism instead of Hinduism which predominate the architectural and Theravāda imagery that suggests it holds key information about the shift in state religion during the demise of Angkor. The Two Buddhist Towers project is evaluating this issue through the study of production, representation, trade, ritual and daily life.
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