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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

France/Spain 2011 - Day 5, Part 3 - Paris: Musée Guimet - Indochina

"Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong." - Oscar Wilde

***

France/Spain 2011
Day 5 - 21st March - Paris: Musée Guimet - Indochina
(Part 3)

It was noon and I hadn't had anything all day. So I decided to sit down for lunch instead of eating on the go. There was a Boulangerie Artisan, but I felt that I deserved meat. So I went to a kebab shop for Pan-European Cuisine.

There was Kebab 'Grec' and 'Chicken'. I asked the guy what the difference was and he said the name. Gah. Then he said it was to con outsiders, or something like that.

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This was the best kebab I'd ever had. The meat was awesomely crispy and tasty, and I suspected it wasn't shit

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"ARRETE PREFECTORAL DU 9 DECEMBRE 1968
IL EST INTERDIT: d'introduire un animal dans l'enceinte du chemin de fer ainsi que dans les voitures. Toutefois les animaux domestiques de petite taille pourront être admis lorsqu'ils seront transportés dans des paniers convenablement fermés...
se livrer à la mendicité, de troubler la tranquillité des voyageurs de quelque manière que ce soit et de quêter"

("Decree of 9 December 1969
It is forbidden: to bring an animal into the railway and in the cars. However small domestic animals can be admitted if they are transported in properly closed baskets... engage in begging, bother other travelers in any way or to beg")

These rules seemed more honoured in the breach than in the observance. Also, in looking this up, I just found out that I'm not allowed to take photographs in the Métro. In Paris, do as the Parisians do - so I shall honour that spirit and break the rules again in future too.

Next I headed to another museum: the Musée Guimet - housing Asian Art.

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"The countries of South East Asia form a homogenous and coherent cultural whole"
O RLY

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They have "some of the rare remaining Buddhist images in wood outside Vietnam". I wonder why. Probably because there weren't that many that survived the ravages of the tropics in the first place.

Happily the audioguide was free.

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Seven Headed Naga (Cobra) symbolising wealth and prosperity. From the bridge linking the World of Man and the World of Gods. The naga chunred the ocean of milk. It was 200m originally, so presumably the other 190+m is back in Preah Khan. Unless it's already been stolen.
This was one of the first things one saw. Of course, the most impressive stuff (i.e. the best stuff they looted from Cambodia) was the first to be presented to visitors. The plaque calls it the Giant's Causeway.

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Lintel, Cambodia. First half of 7th c.
We see Indra the God of Storms and the Guardian of the East, mounting the elephant Airavana. Around we see the Marut, the wind and storm gods.

Nagas, the guardians of the treasures in the bowels of the death, were worshipped by peasants because they brought rain. Nagas baptised Buddha with hot and cold water. Hurr hurr.

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Brahmanic Stele. Cambodia. Second half of the 7th c.

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Skanda. Cambodia. 6th or 7th c.
Wikipedia says that a Skanda is "a Hindu deity also known as Kartikeya and Murugan".

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Hariha. Cambodia. 7th c (?).

The Cambodian adaptation/version of Indian sacred texts don't survive.

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Buddha (made of wood!). Vietnam, 6th or 7th c. (?)
I'm very impressed that this survived somehow

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Bodhisattva Maitreya. Thailand, 8th c.

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Bodhisattva Maitreya. Cambodia, 8th c.

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Bodhisattva Lokesvara. Vietnam. 7th c. (?)

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Goddess. Cambodia. 8th c.

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Goddess in Dance posture. Cambodia. Second quarter of 10th c.

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Brahma, Siva and Vishnu, Phnom Bok. End 9th/early 10th c. Trio in stone.
On the left we have Vishnu and Shiva combined. On the right, Vishnu with a cylindrical mitre and a disk (if I read my scribbling right). In the middle is Shiva with his Third Eye. (I think both these two lines refer to this duo of pictures)

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Lintel. Cambodia. Last quarter of 9th c.
In the centre we see Vishnu mounting Garuda between two monstrous heads
At the sides we see Garuda mastering Nagas

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Pediment. Cambodia. ~967.
This is a scene from the Mahabharata and is about how the Only Folly of Man is Women

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Vajimukha. Cambodia. Third quarter of 10th c.
A Vajimukha is a horse-headed deity


For some reason, on one of the trains I took on Line 2 of the Métro you didn't need to press a button or pull a handle to open the door. Was this an experiment? A tender error?

The Paris Métro has the most ads for arts events of any subway system I've been in. London has somewhat less, and New York even less than London.

My favourite Métro name: "Bonne nouvelle" ("Good News")

There was to be some 'Excalibur' show from 23-24 September at a stadium. Turns out it's to be a Middle Ages show. Perhaps it's a hidden jibe at the imposition of German fiscal austerity through tightening the rules in the Eurozone.
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