Trend in Khmer Art

Right from the start, I knew this book would be useful in helping me better understand the historical context of early Khmer arts and sculptures. The author begins by explaining the history from a Chinese narrative point of view. The Chinese are the only ones who have documentation of how the Angkorian era was like. The author discussed twenty-four sculptures that are representatives of Cambodian art. Here, he notes that the early Khmer art were sculpted with perfectionism. Everything made were in its original style. This trend carried a smiling face and gentle expression to hint that the general character is hieratic. Most early Khmer sculpture was created to be placed in or near temples. Khmer art is an almost entirely art based from Hinduism and Buddhism beliefs. The Hindu and Buddhist sculptures on temples reflects the coexistence of the two religions in Cambodia though Buddhism is more present in arts nowadays. Through history, the author gave evident that during Jayavarman IV’s reign, art was more architectural than lifelike. Jayavarman IV had his own city and called it Koh Ker. There he built several enormous temples. The art at Koh Ker also began the architectural movement that spread throughout South East Asia. The author noted that under the last great builder, King Jayavarman VII, Khmer arts and sculptures was at its heights. The king was a devoted believer in Buddhism and this affected his works at that time. He declared Buddhism as the empire’s religion and constructed more temples than any of his predecessors did. He also constructed the Bayon. The Bayon, his grandest creation, was built at the very heart of Angkor Thom. Furthermore, the Khmer arts was at its peak until war with neighboring countries initially stopped these types of projects.