Elroy Christenson
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Bayon head, Angkor Thom

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"Head at Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom, Cambodia" 2001 photo Elroy Christenson

Bayon Temple is a complex created by the Khmer king, Jayavarman VII, about 1200 in the center of the fortified city of Angkor Thom. Jayavarman converted to Buddhism and based the design on the cosmic mountain of Mount Meru. The faces are probably not intended as portraits of the king but rather of Buddha. The mountain of 140 feet high has several towers with four gigantic faces in primary directions. There are reliefs that go around the complex on the lower level illustrating the conquests of the the king. Although many are beautifully sculpted about half are incomplete or unfinished. French explorers Francis Garnier, Doudart de Lagree along with the artist Louis Delaporte rediscovered and published drawings of the root and tree choked ruins that they helped to clear for study in 1866.


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updated by Elroy Christenson 9/02/12