Make your own free website on Tripod.com

JOURNAL OF MY TOUR BY JEEP OF THAILAND, CAMBODJA AND VIETNAM

NOVEMBER, 1956 , page13

Characteristic of the Khmer building style is the prasat, a tower built of bricks, sandstone or laterite as the center of a complex of temples arranged in one of two forms: in a straight line from East to West or in a square of galeries with large towers at the corners and smaller ones between.
These towers are richly decorated with scenes derived from Brahman myths, displayed in shallow niches.
Apsaras, heavenly dancers
After the import of the Hinayana or "small vehicle" version of Buddhism, Buddha images were exclusively used, while the "large vehicle" or Mahayana combines the Buddha images with the numerous deities of Brahmanism.
Although this itself originally was monotheistic, it later developed into polytheism with as main gods the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Civa. Often the stone towers were topped by such other materials as wood or copper which have been lost long ago. Similarly, few traces are left of all the small buildings which must have filled the spaces between galleries. Only the strongest stone construction survided, while all the woodwork, leather and other perishabled perished as they should. Thus, the wrong impression of Angkor should be corrected: gates which now seem extraordinary high actually were largely closed by wooden panels in which doors were installed; galleries which on account of their height now appear dead and cold in the past were actually hidden by richly decorated wooden ceilings which since disappeared.
Even though the Khmer bricks were of excellent quality and cemented together by some vegetable binder requiring minimum space between courses, the larger projects are almost completely carried out in sandstone which is easy to work. That made it possible to build such risky constructions as the Bayon, the towers of which consist of four faces looking to each major compass quarter.


BLO fecit 20010321 --- next page ---contents autobiography