Angkor: The Serenity of Buddhism (1993)

ISBN: 9780500541821
Artist(s): Marc Riboud
Author(s): Jean Lacouture et al
Format: hardback
Edition: First Edition
Year published: 1993
Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 159
Illustrations: 75 duotone illustrations


1 available

Angkor, the ancient seat of the god-kings of Cambodia, is the great treasury of Khmer artistic culture whose evocative, enigmatic sculptures are known throughout the world. Marc Riboud, the celebrated French photographer, visited the site several times, first in the late 1960s and most recently in November 1990, capturing its monuments and inhabitants before and after the terrible years of the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields. Riboud shows not only the toppled edifices, the lichened Buddhas and the roofless galleries of Angkor’s two most famous sites of Angkor Wat and the Bayon, but the invasive power of the surrounding jungle, whose roots and creepers crawl over the stonework, clawing at the vast impassive faces of the monuments. The still undefiled relief carvings of graceful dancers and smiling devatas are juxtaposed with French and Japanese graffiti, and the friezes depicting the battles of the Khmer kings with modern mementoes of conflict in the shape of Kalashnikov rifles and war cripples. But Angkor has become host to the revival of life and faith in Cambodia: Riboud watched and recorded in 1990 as hundreds of monks and thousands of pilgrims converged for a three-day festival in honor of a statue of the Buddha, rekindling a tradition almost extinguished by years of savage persecution. Riboud’s masterly images are complemented by his own descriptive essay, along with texts on Angkor’s recent history and its Buddhist foundations from Jean Lacouture, the celebrated writer, and Jean Boisselier, former curator of the National Museum of Phnom Penh. Together they present a moving portrayal of this mysterious wonder, a collage of timeless beauty and spiritual dignity scarred by contemporary brutality.

Condition: Some light damp stains to interior of dustjacket, otherwise very good.


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