The Angkor’s Faces Series of Silk Carvings continued – Buddha

April 27, 2009

While I started drawing my next silk carving project I would like to talk about the second of the Angkor’s Faces series, that is Buddha.

I know it sounds strange to feel so entranced by objects and themes you have never experienced yourself (similar yes but not actually the same) but sometimes you may have come across a similar situation. Due to a dream or any other incident you may meet people or a place that you feel immediately familiar with although you have never been there. So it happened to me when I visited Thailand for the very first time. It was that strange feeling of being at home in a country that was not only absolutely unknown to me but completely alien. Just as little I can explain my affinity with Cambodian people, culture and art.

Inspired by the incredible Buddha face towers at Angkor Thom in the Bayon temple area I tried to recreate one of those ancient faces in a small silk sculpture which is only a feeble attempt of course. Nothing can be compared with those magical stone sculptures, no-one can actually re-create that spell that seems to bedazzle each viewer. I only wish that I can experience this feeling myself in reality one day instead of staring at images and reproductions, seeing one documentation after another. Nothing can replace the “real thing”.

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angkor21
“Buddha”
14″ x 14″, silk

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I am not going to give a lecture about Cambodian history or Buddhism in Cambodia – there is enough information on the web if you are interested (see links below). Only a little side note:

“The history of Buddhism in Cambodia spans nearly two thousand years, across a number of successive kingdoms and empires.”
“The earliest forms of Buddhism, along with Hindu influences, entered the Funan kingdom with Hindu merchants. In later history, a second stream of Buddhism entered Khmer culture during the Angkor empire when Cambodia absorbed the various Buddhist traditions of the Mon kingdoms of Dvaravati and Haripunchai.

For the first thousand years of Khmer history, Cambodia was ruled by a series of Hindu kings with an occasional Buddhist king, such as Jayavarman of Funan, and Suryvarman I. A variety of Buddhist traditions co-existed peacefully throughout Cambodian lands, under the tolerant auspices of Hindu kings and the neighboring Mon-Theravada kingdoms. “(Wikipedia)

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As you can see from the detail image below, the silk carving has been handstitched and stuffed in order to create the relief. After that it was painted, adding metallic pigments.
It is mounted on a stretcher frame so that no additional frame would be needed but could be added of course.

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angkor22

Links:

History of Cambodia
Khmer empire history in maps
by Podinarath Kim
Khmer History by Kent Davis
Beauty and Darkness: Cambodia

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