Life and Death in the Landscape

Look of the land back when I was a student in 2008 in the middle of somewhere during Khmer New Year - Middle of Somewhere

Look of the land back when I was a student in 2008 in the middle of somewhere during Khmer New Year – Middle of Somewhere

Along with the ancient temples, the landscape has been a popular subject in Khmer art since the Angkor era of the 12th to 14th century [1]. Chinese envoy Zhou Daguan took note of these images when he wrote about his visit to Cambodia from 1296 to 1297 [2]. The prominence of the landscape in Khmer art has withstood time since his Cambodian journey, but the genocide gave the landscape a new meaning that sullied the exoticism of Zhou Dagan’s adventures. Yet as was the case with the krama, recent Khmer art has attempted to detach the Cambodian landscape from association with the genocide.

[1] Ingrid Muan, “Citing Angkor: The ‘Cambodian Arts’ in the Age of Restoration” (PhD diss., Columbia University 2001), 384.

[2] David P. Chandler, “Foreword,” in A Record of Cambodia: The Land and Its People, by Zhou Dagan, trans. Peter Harris (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2007), vii.

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