Angkor Wat Style
Height 41 cms
Width 20 cms
Depth 20 cms
Weight 8 Kgs
In Cambodia statues of lions (singa) flank the temple gates or access roads and are commonly found at the temple of Angkor. Bakong, a stepped pyramid Hindu temple from earlier period also display lion statues as guardians of each stages on each of the cardinal points. Khmer lion guardian statues are commonly found in Angkor Wat, Bayon, Pre Rup and Srah Srang. Just like ancient Java, the depiction of lion in ancient Khmer art is not in naturalistic style, more like a symbolic mythical animal derived from Indian Hindu-Buddhist art. The royal emblem of Cambodia depicting a pair of guardian animals gajasinga (hybrid of elephant and lion) and singa (lion).
Guardian Lions (singa) from the Malay word "singa" meaning Lion, flanked the main approaches to the sanctuary of most Khmer temples and were also placed along the stairways and on terraces. The lion, representing royalty, strength, and courage, was the personal symbol of the Khmer Kings, who were also believed to be gods. Therefore, the lion as guardian of the sacred precinct suggested the ability to ward off evil through both divine and royal protection.
Angkor Wat was the state temple and mausoleum of Suryavarman II (1113 AD to 1145-1150 AD). It was dedicated to the God Vishnu, which is the probable reason for its (unusual) orientation to the West. Today, it has lost its Hindu association in the minds of most, and has become an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists.
Angkor Wat is without doubt the most important monument of the Khmer Empire. Its immense scale alone demands attention, but this coupled with its artistic precision and historic significance make it one of the great wonders of the world. Its image--to Cambodians and foreigners alike--is synonymous with the country today, and has graced every flag in Cambodia's history.
Nothing embodies Cambodia's history more than Angkor Wat, which was built by Suryavarman II. Construction--which took thirty years--was not completed until after his death, and the temple appears to have been both his state temple and mausoleum. It was also the capital of the Khmer Empire, which reached its height under his rule.
Almost nine centuries after its construction, Angkor Wat remains one of the world's largest religious monuments. Like so many of the Khmer temples, it is a representation of Mt. Meru. Unlike most of the temples at Angkor, however, it is oriented towards the west, probably due to its association with Vishnu. Its outer perimeter is marked by a moat 200 m wide that stretches a kilometer and a half north to south, and nearly that distance east to west. A stone causeway crosses this moat on the western side, the principal entrance, meeting the outer laterite enclosure wall in a grand gopura.
Another stone causeway leads from this gopura to the temple itself, which is effectually a pyramid of three levels, each with a concentric gallery, four corner towers, and four gopuras at the cardinal points. The summit is crowned with five towers, each meant to imitate the silhouette of a lotus bud. The sheer size of the monument makes the layout difficult to discern from the ground. The central tower of Angkor Wat reaches a height of 65 meters, dwarfing the cathedrals being built at the same time in Europe.
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