This chronological album of more than forty Khmer temples has been designed as a convenient online reference for non-specialists studying this essential and extensive body of world architecture – students, architects and visitors planning or returning from a trip to Angkor. The temples dating from the classical period (roughly 802 -1298 CE) are arranged in order of their construction, insofar as that can be determined, and each includes photographs of their distinctive features, site plans and brief, background notes, as well as occasional examples of their sculptural decoration and the surrounding environment.
This catalog is not intended to take the place of a guide for visiting the archaeological park of which there are several excellent ones in print (see below.) Nor do these hurried snapshots add to the plethora of professional photographs readily available on the internet which imprint Angkor’s striking image on the collective imagination. Neither does it pretend to make any original contributions to more than a century of intensive research by dedicated archaeologist and historians which has made these monuments and the civilization which produced them more accessible to the contemporary viewer.
This album was designed, instead, to assemble in a single, easy-to-use, on-line resource the minimal materials needed to trace a few of the major themes suggested by these formidable scholarly labors across the corpus of Khmer architecture. The following introduction outlines a few of these framing ideas and remaining questions which its users can explore in greater depth at the sites it documents. Each off these broad perspectives is illustrated with photographs, diagrams and brief analysis of specific temples which exemplify them.
These introductory remarks will make abundantly clear this album is the work of an autodidact in both archaeology and photography, who has spent only a limited time at Angkor, speaks and reads no Khmer, and has not accessed the definitive records of the EFEO and APSARA. In the absence of independent field work, they must rely on widely available secondary sources; as a result the site plans have been measured and verified only with pencil and ruler rather than the latest Lidar imaging. This introduction and album will have succeeded if they encourage their user to pursue their own more disciplined and better informed study of the exceptional monuments included.
Suggested Guidebooks and Introductions:
• Booth, Andrew, The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples (ABOUT Asia Travel, Siem Reap, 3rd edition, 2016)
• Freeman, Michael and Jacques, Claude, Ancient Angkor (River Books, Bangkok, revised 2003)
• Jessup, Helen Ibbitson, Art and Architecture of Cambodia (Thames and Hudson, London, 2004)
• Laur, Jean, Angkor: An Illustrated Guide to the Monuments (Flammarion, Paris, 2002)
• Rooney, Dawn, Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples (Odyssey, Hong Kong, 2006)
• Roveda, Vittorio, Khmer Mythology: Secrets of Angkor Wat (Weatherhill, New York, 1998)