Sunday, February 19, 2012

Banteay Srei - save the Best for Last

Our last Angkor site was also my favorite - Banteay Srei. Although just a fraction of the size of the Angkor Wat temple, this miniature-sized Hindu temple more than makes up for things with its exquisite carvings. The red sandstone from which most of the structures here are carved was perfect material to achieve and preserve some of the most elaborate, intricate carvings I have ever seen. Consecrated in 967 AD by a counsellor to the king, Banteay Srei was dedicated to the god Shiva. Meaning “Citadel of the Women” or “Citadel of Beauty,” some say such intricate work could only done by the hands of women. Its lintels and pediments were particularly beautiful, but nearly every square inch was covered by carvings or sculptures. A feast for the photographer’s eye! Many of the sculptures found on the site are reproductions, with the originals stored in the National Museum. Additional pieces are housed at the museum in Siem Reap and were easily distinguished from “inferior” carvings from other Khmer sites. Such measures have ensured that at some of this “jewel of Khmer art” will be preserved and safe from the hands of unscrupulous looters. Visit for more detailed explanations and images.
View many more photos of mine on Banteay Srei and the other sites within the Angkor area on my Flickr set .

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