29 septembre 2007

Bantey Kdai

. At the temple’s western entrance, one finds another example of the spirit of confusion, although less so than at Ta Prohm and Prah Khan, that is characteristic of the monuments built, transformed or completed by Jayavarman VII - and of the crowding of the sacred enclosure, which here is 63 metres by 50, set within a vast overall enclosure (700 metres by 500). At least two different styles are evident, relating to the periods of Angkor Wat and the Bayon, and the additions are clear, in many places masking the already existing... [Lire la suite]
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28 septembre 2007

Ta Prohm

. Even though the relentless force of the vegetation is the cause of so much damage, the École Française d’Extrême-Orient felt obliged to leave at least one temple in Angkor as an example of the “natural state” that so marvelled the early explorers, while also showing by comparison the importance of the effort already achieved in its work to safeguard these ancient stones. It chose Ta Prohm - one of the most imposing and the one which had best merged with the jungle, but not yet to the point of becoming a part of it - as but... [Lire la suite]
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27 septembre 2007

Terrace of Elephants

. The terrace of the Elephants in its present form extends in length for over 300 metres -from the Baphuon to the terrace of the Leper King - though the two extremities remain imprecise in their layout and the terrace itself shows evidence of additions and alterations. Along the square it presents five perrons, three of which dominate. The southern of these is framed by motifs, already found on the gates of Angkor Thom, of three elephant heads with trunks forming pillars tugging at lotuses. The same... [Lire la suite]
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26 septembre 2007

Leper King Terrace

. The terrace of the Leper King lies just to the north of the Terrace of the Elephants, aligned with it but standing separate. As a mound of masonry about 25 metres across by 6 high, it forms a redented bastion with sides that are lined in sandstone and entirely sculpted with figures in a high relief, juxtaposed and separated in seven registers - the uppermost of which has almost entirely disappeared. Although now standing isolated - joined only at its north and south by the start of some returning walls - it is probable that... [Lire la suite]
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25 septembre 2007

Bayon Faces

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24 septembre 2007


. Separated by less than a century, the Bayon is the antithesis of Angkor Wat. While this latter sits at ease in its successive enclosure walls, realising according to a spacious plan a vast architectural composition through the harmonious equilibrium of its towers and its galleries, the Bayon, enclosed within the rectangle of 140 metres by 160 that constitutes its third enclosure (the gallery of the bas-reliefs), gives the impression of being compressed within a frame which is too tight for it. Like a cathedral built on the... [Lire la suite]
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22 septembre 2007

Ta Som

. From the eastern Mebon, Ta Som appears on the right, a little after the 13th kilometre marker stone, as a tower with four faces of Lokesvara entwined within the roots of a giant Ficus tree that crowns it perfectly. Several of the roots have pierced the vault and descend straight to the ground, obstructing part of the passageway. Cruciform in plan, this gopura is flanked by two small rooms and adjoins the 200 by 240 metre laterite wall of the external (the third) enclosure. Its western lintel shows the standing... [Lire la suite]
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21 septembre 2007

Neak Pean

. Just beyond Krol Ko, the 300 metre route leads to the small island of Neak Pean. This is the “Mebon” of the Prah Khan baray (the “Jayatataka” of the inscription) measuring 3,500 metres by 900 - the two monuments being aligned on the same axis. The island, of 350 metres each side, was defined by a system of laterite steps with pavements set on the axes. Small elephants must once have stood at the four corners since there is still one in place - to the north-east. King Jayavarman VII placed the “Jayatataka” - the “... [Lire la suite]
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20 septembre 2007

Prah Kan

The large ensemble of Prah Khan, forming a rectangle of 700 metres by 800 surrounded by moats, covers an area of 56 hectares. It is, like Ta Prohm with which it has many analogies, an example typical of the formula adopted by Jayavarman VII: - all the elements of a vast composition compressed into a relatively small space (the third enclosure contains all of its buildings in only 175 by 200 metres), - the transformation of an elegant initial plan into a veritable architectural chaos by the... [Lire la suite]
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19 septembre 2007

Pre Rup

. An impressive work of impeccable proportions, constructed almost entirely of warm coloured materials (laterite and brick) at a time when sandstone was only used sparingly, Pre Rup needs to be visited either early in the morning or at sunset. Its relatively recent clearing required particular attention, the brick monuments needing special care in the removal of the soil, the fallen materials and the entangling roots. Later by a few years than the eastern Mebon and identical in style, Pre Rup is the last... [Lire la suite]
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