In early 20th century Cambodia, George Groslier established the School of Cambodian Arts, teaching students the crafts of modelling, wood-carving, sculpture, bronze-casting, furniture-making, the art of the goldsmith or silversmith, and (for girls) weaving. In 1936, English author Miss H. W. Ponder published “Cambodian Glory,” including a detailed chapter about this unique school titled “The Tree of Knowledge.” This is the second of a four-part series of articles excerpted from her work.
In 1936, English author Miss H. W. Ponder published Cambodian Glory, including a detailed chapter about George Groslier and the School of Cambodian Arts titled “The Tree of Knowledge.” Excerpts from her article are featured on Devata.org as a four part series detailing Groslier’s work reviving the classic crafts of the Khmer people by founding the School of Cambodian Arts. This is the first article in a four part series.
In a tale that traces royal love, divine wisdom, treachery and betrayal, “Angkor – The Untold Story” depicts the passion of a woman so pure that the temple she helped build nearly a millennium ago still stands as a testament to her passion. In this production by the Apsaras Arts dance troupe of Singapore, Indian apsaras reveal the untold story of Angkor Wat in a spectacular performance that is a breathtaking homage to the art and heritage of Cambodia and India. The November 2013 Indian Festival of Esplanade showcases their presentation as its opening performance.
A mystery. How is it that in 1927, a 23-year-old woman understood more about the diversity of the 1,800 devata goddesses at the Khmer temple of Angkor Wat than mainstream scholars would see for the 80 years?
Equipped with nothing but a pad of paper and a pencil, Sappho Marchal was the first person to begin a quantitative analysis of the symbolism encoded in the royal female portraits immortalized in Angkor Wat. Who are these women? What hierarchy do they represent? Chances are the answers to these questions are portrayed in Sappho’s clear drawings.
Hailed by H.M. King Sihamoni of Cambodia as a “highly talented and spiritual” dance troupe, 30 extraordinary young artists are embarking on the Sacred Dancers of Angkor US Tour to perform rare classical, folk and sacred Khmer dance and music. Their mission is to bridge the Cambodian-Americans to their Motherland during the Holy Month of Remembrance of the Ancestors (Pchum Ben which starts on September 20) and to raise awareness about the Cambodian dance. The tour is endorsed and supported by King Norodom Sihamoni, the Cambodian Government and the UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh and is placed under the Auspices of Princess Norodom Boppha Devi.
The Hindu temple of Angkor Wat enshrines nearly 2000 portraits of ancient Khmer women documented here in the Angkor Wat Devata Inventory.
The Khmer civilization that grew to unify most of Southeast Asia between the 8th-14th centuries respected women. Today, we still see their temples filled with images of sacred women –termed devata, apsara or Khmer goddesses – who embody the feminine forces of the universe. While women and goddesses appear as icons in many ancient and modern societies, the Khmers gave sanctified women dominance over their state temples more consistently and more visibly than any other group.
This article is based on research presented by Trudy Jacobsen in her book “Lost Goddesses: The Denial of Female Power in the History of Cambodia”.
The women of Angkor Wat, frequently called devata and apsaras, are related to many divine, semi-divine and mortal Asian females.
Set like a gem among fertile ricefields, the 11th century Rajarani Temple is a breathtaking example of of Orissan style. It is also an immediate architectural predecessor of the Khmer Empire’s greatest monuments.