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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cambodia Trip
Day 6 (28/9) - Museum
(Part 1)

Since the night before had been our last night, we engaged in a night of raucous conviviality (and got cheated by the bar, as we always did, since it seemed to be in the culture to cheat tourists and we had no choice but to accept this to avoid being spoiled brats).






Sign on hotel room wall. It took me a while to figure out that it meant that you were allowed to smoke and burn things in the room.

The others were going to go back to the same place for breakfast, but I decided to scour the streets in search of rat meat. I'd actually intended to eat street food on previous occasions, but the most the others had tried was balut (so I had been told), and I had also been advised to wait till the last day so I would get typhoid only after returning to Singapore. So I woke up earlier and walked around.



The cloudy effect is very artistic and has nothing to do with the fact that the hotel room was cool and I walked out into a hot, humid environment.




Cyclos, a form of transport unique to Phnom Penh


A market street

Eventually I settled on a baguette filled with rat meat pate, since it was portable and unique (we'd been told there was Chinese La Mian in the area also, and I also saw a place with what looked like beef pho).

I was quite sure I was cheated: I asked the price, and the woman said 1000 at first but later changed it to 2000, but what the heck.


Rat meat pate baguette. Besides what you see there was also spring onion.


Dog and tripod

After breakfast we headed out to the National Museum.


Building on the way to the museum


Museum building


Garuda. Koh Ker. 2nd quarter of 10th century.

I wasn't really in the mood to take pictures because it was hot and I was sleepy, tired and dehydrated (ie feeling under the weather - this is the main reason why I'm not a Southeast Asia person) and I went to sit down a few times so I wouldn't faint on a statue. However, since we got a special tour from a staff member, some others took pictures here and there.

Although we were privileged enough to be given a tour, we had more than 35 people in the group and the maximum size for an effective tour is 10 due to communication issues.

I found Khmer art in general aesthetically unpleasing. This was me being ethnocentric, just like how non-Britons who say British food is bad are being ethnocentric.

Interestingly, it's better to keep the sandstone (from which all the rock carvings were made) in a moist environment continually since if you aircondition the place it has to be dry 24/7 otherwise the dry/wet/dry/wet cycles will damage it. All you have to do is clean the dust and make sure no one touches the stuff.

We then got to peek in the workshop.


2 monkeys from the Ramayana fighting from Koh Ker.

Quite a bit of derestoration goes on, sometimes because restoration has been badly done and sometimes in a quest for authenticity.


Seated Buddha. Abhayamudia. Angor Borel.
This statue used to belong to a village, and it had modern layers of paint and recent restoration removed. History was not living but frozen at a certain time in the past.






Storeroom


Knick knacks on top of drawers

We were then let loose on the collection. Freed from a big group, I regained my enthusiasm for photographs. It didn't hurt that it was lunch time and half the staff seemed to have either run off or into corners to eat, and half of the remainder didn't care about photography.


Ganesha, 6-7th century.


Rama, no date.


2nd half of the 10th century: Seated Sinha, Yasha, Seated guardian with lion head. All from Banteay Srei.


Pediment from Banteay Srei


Seated statue, maybe of Jayavarman VII. Angkor Thom. Late 12th/Early 13th century.


Cannon with Chinese words on it. No information.


Pediment: Buddha calling the earth to witness. Angkor Thom. Late 12th-Early 13th century. And Stadir, Lokesvara. Early 13th century. Neak Pean, Angkor.


Guardian's Head. Gate, Angkor Thom. Late 12th-Early 13th century.


"Sit down, please! Let your friend compare about my facial expression and yours! Ask him, which one is the beautiful"
I vote for my friends anyday.


Standing Vishnu, Lakshmi (consort). Roluos. 12th-13th century.


Stele with 4 lokapala and Buddha. Angkor Thom. 13th century.


Pediment from Royal Palace. 19th century.


Besides the toilets, the museum window frames were also sponsored. Wth.


Ramakerti. 19th (?) century


Post-Angkorian Buddha representations. This was opened by the former Minister of Culture and Fine Arts. I have no idea.


Ganesha and friends, mostly from Angkorian times.


Standing Buddha. Wat Romlok. Beginning of 6th century.


Lokesvara. Sisophon. 6th century.


Vishnu. Prei Venay. 2nd half of 6th century.


Lintel, Kompong Thom. 7th century.


Some Buddhist saying in the pond in the courtyard which I suspected was meant to encourage you to donate money.


Above pond: Buddhist figure holding text of worship. Kompong Thom. 13th-14th century.


Vishnu body, 6th century. The sandstone strata are visible after erosion (presumably of the original polished surface).


Shiva, Ganesa, Shanda. Kompong Thom. 12th century.


Bas-relief with lokesvara. Banteay Mean Chey. 12th-13th century.
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