The Preah Khan Monastic Complex
Michael D. Coe, Olivier Cunin, Claude Jacques, Christophe Pottier, Dawn F. Rooney, John H. Stubbs
- Wonderfully illustrated volume outlining the history, significance and accomplishments in conservation at Preah Khan during the last two decades
- Part of Scala’s fascinating series drawing on World Monument Fund’s remarkable resources of information
The temple of Preah Khan at Angkor in northern Cambodia is considered one of the most revealing of all examples of ancient Khmer architecture. Dating from 1191, it is a key work of the ‘builder king’ Jayavarman VII, having several unique features including its famed Two-Storey Pavilion, the monumental sculpture adorning its perimeter wall and an intricately complex architectural layout. The precious Preah Khan stele discovered at the centre of the site reveals through its Sanskrit stanzas extraordinary detail about the temple and its operation in the heyday of the Khmer Empire. Set within a large moated area, Preah Khan’s extensive ruins have remained in their forest setting since research began at the site in the 1920s by the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO). After a 15-year interregnum caused by Cambodia’s devastating civil war, the task of conserving and presenting Preah Khan was taken up by the New York-based World Monuments Fund (WMF) in 1991. Despite considerable practical challenges, WMF’s field teams persevered in their conservation work, often using techniques that have since been employed widely in Khmer architectural conservation.
Michael D. Coe is Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, and Curator Emeritus of the Peabody Museum at Yale University. He is the author of Angkor and the Khmer Civilization. Olivier Cunin has researched Khmer monuments extensively and his doctorate thesis at the Institut National Polytechnic de Lorraine analyzed the architectural history of the Bayon style monuments in Cambodia and Thailand. Claude Jacques has studied Khmer and Sanskrit inscriptions in Cambodia beginning in 1961 as a member of the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO). From 1992 to 1998 he served as special advisor on Angkor to the director general of UNESCO. Christophe Pottier re-established the École Française d’Extrême-Orient research centre in Siem Reap in 1992 and was its director for seven years. He is co-director of the Greater Angkor Project, a research program of the University of Sydney. Dawn F. Rooney is the author of nine books on the art and culture of Southeast Asia including Angkor, Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples. Her most recent publication is Khmer Ceramics, Beauty and Meaning. John H. Stubbs has served as Vice President for Field Projects at World Monuments Fund since 1990. From 1992 until 2008 he directed WMF’s programs at Angkor.