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.
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.
Hidden in the ancient jungle temple of Preah Khan at Angkor, images carved on a door may be proof of a Khmer legends like Aesop’s fables.
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.
Sacred images of Khmer women still dominate and protect the temple with their auspicious presence. Many stand hidden in shadowed alcoves, seen by few visitors. Preah Khan Khmer temple devata goddesses
The importance of the West Gopura structure cannot be understated: this is the gateway to Angkor Wat. Its west facade may have been the only part of the the temple that the vast majority of the public ever saw. But even that statement assumes too much. Angkor Wat West Gopura entrance devata goddess portraits facing East
In Paris, the Royal Ballet of Cambodia performs an extraordinary Hindu legend of creation featuring Amrita, the nectar of immortality.
India and Cambodia shared visions of their past and future in this historic Angkor visit of Indian President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil.