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Architectural features

One of the overriding design features of the Khmer temples is the symmetry with which they were built. Layouts of temples and monasteries are all symmetrical around a central axis. This symmetry provides mirrored image, profiles or silhouettes around a central dominant architectural feature such as the central tower on the grand scale or the main porticos on the axial routes. There are several distinct architectural features common throughout Khmer architecture.

Artistic features

Most of the artistry was derived from concepts imported from south India that Cambodian people's remarkable artistic talents were able to embellish these concepts in many wonderful ways. It is hard to believe that the artistry found in the decorated Lintels and the kilometer of relief is often over a thousand years old.

Statuary

Khmer sculpture is among the finest in the world. Remarkable figures in stone and bronze reflect the skills of Cambodian artists. The sculptures carved in stone were an integral part of temple architecture as Guardians protecting the temple, Lion guarding stairways, multi-headed Naga, protective snakes, Free-standing guardian Lions, etc. There are also elements of worship such as the Linga and Yoni, symbolic Shivaite images of the male and female, which represent destruction and rebirth and beautifully inscribed stone with information on foundation and function of the temple, are still present in many of the complexes.

Khmer Civilization

Angkor Empire is a national historical park, it has land area around 400 squares kilometers that attracted tourist came to visit the historical park. Our knowledge of Khmer Civilization is based on information from inscriptions on stones (stele) left by many of the khmer kings, recounting the religious and political achievements and old Chinese texts written by travelers and ambassadorial missions contain many details about the khmers. In the early centuries of our era, Cambodia or Khmer, like other countries in South-east Asia got Indian culture from trading, which probably started in Cambodia in the first centuries BC in the start of Funan empire (Southern Cambodia at present time), Facing the Gulf of Thailand. It happened gradually, mainly through trading with the Southern Kingdoms of India. The Khmer ruling class, without abandoning their own custom and traditions, selected and adopted what they needed of Indian religious and Literary culture, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, together with the use of the Sanskrit language, which introduced a writing system and the first inscription. Towards the end of the first millennium BC, some overlords sought acceptance of their superior status from establishing central courts in important palaces, erecting sacred buildings, cultivating loyal followers, Cambodian power. In this way, Cambodian created small polities or states, without fixed frontiers. The central political and social organizations would have taken care of irrigation works, trade and warfare, and would have been used to enhance the ruler's power. The history of the Khmer empire covers several centuries, divided into two historical periods: The Pre-Angkorean, from around the first century AD till the 8 th century, which saw the emergence of the first polities of Funan and Chenla, and the Angkorean period from the 9 th to the 15 th century, which saw the unification of Funan with Chenla, marking the beginning of the Angkorean Civilization and a shift towards a continental economy. It corresponded with a period of the greatest social, cultural and artistic development. In the arts, it marks the decline of Indian influence and the beginning of the Khmer style, the relief's examined here come exclusively from temples built during this period (802-1432).

Inscriptions
Many inscriptions in Sanskrit and ancient Khmer have been found within the area of the Angkorean Empire, allowing us to reconstruct the history of Cambodia . About 1200 inscriptions have been founded so far, mostly engraved on stone slabs. Those in Sanskrit, the  language elite, tell of
the deeds and merits of the Kings and list the temples they endowed. Information on the common people and daily life is scarce. The inscriptions in Khmer are, in most cases, a sort of inventory of the material goods of a particular personage, land and cattle ownership, list of
slaves, and of the assets of the temples. land and cattle ownership, list of slaves, and of the assets of the temples. Nothing has survived of the manuscripts on palm leaves. The inscriptions refer to a well-structured society, which each important personage having received a title from the king. The notion of the caste system appears to have been meaningful only for Brahmans. The rural population seems to have been closely organized around the temple's authority.

Many inscriptions in Sanskrit and ancient Khmer have been found within the area of the Angkorean Empire, allowing us to reconstruct the history of Cambodia . About 1200 inscriptions have been founded so far, mostly engraved on stone slabs. Those in Sanskrit, the language elite, tell of the deeds and merits of the Kings and list the temples they endowed. Information on the common people and daily life is scarce. The inscriptions in khmer are, in most cases, a sort of inventory of the material goods of a particular personage, land and cattle ownership, list of slaves, and of the assets of the temples. Nothing has survived of the manuscripts on palm leaves. The inscriptions refer to a well-structured society, which each important personage having received a title from the king. The notion of the caste system appears to have been meaningful only for Brahmans. The rural population seems to have been closely organized around the temple's authority.

The Link Of Dynasty

The important succession to the throne in Khmer family. Cambodian King has always taken the girl family to success the throne in Cambodia . According to the legend, which appeared in Cambodian inscription, Kaundinya, landed in Funan or NOKOR PHNOM, drove his spear, which he had obtained from the god into the ground and married Soma or Liu Yeh, daughter of the serpent king (Nagaraja). In the early Chinese account, Huntien (Kaundinya) shot an arrow from his bow, frightened the sylvan queen and married. According to Cambodian legend, Preah Thong, son of a king in India , chased from his home, went to Kok Thlok ( Cambodia ), made war and seized the throne and married a naga princess. The Nagaraja or the King serpent helped him to create a Kingdom and changed its name to Kambuja. A grain of historical truth in these accounts seems to be that an Indian Brahman, who took the name of Kaundinya, whom the Chinese call Huntien, married a Khmer or native princess and became king. This story seems to have been brought across at this time or a little later and the spear substituted for the bow and arrow of the legend. Nearly all subsequent kings of Funan, Chenla, and Kambuja trace their genealogies back to the Lunar dynasty of Kaundinya and soma or Liu-yeh. As I told you above the Khmer king took the girl family to succeed the throne because the native princess was Khmer or Cambodian whose name were called Soma, Liu-yeh or Mera. The names who were called Kambu, Kaundinya or Preah Thong was a Brahman who came into Cambodia and got married with the native Khmer girl so the native Khmer girl has the right more than newcomers. This legend, I extracted from the name book (THE ANCIENT KHMER EMPIRE )

The use of Varman as an honorary suffix

The suffix-varman, attached to a name having a religious or political significance to form the name of a King or person of high rank appeared in Cambodia . Varman in Sanskrit means "armor", and used in the sense indicated above can probably be translated as "protector". Thus, Jayavarman, from Jaya,"victory", and Varman means "protector of victory".

Establishment of a state cult

The establishment of the worship of the Shiva-Linga as the central cult of the state seems to have taken place in Funan until Angkor period, Shiva, a Vedic god, was popularly known as the destroyer in the Brahmanic Trinity (Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu), came to be worshipped in Cambodia . He was generally represented in the temples under the form of the Linga. Meaning the male symbol of generation was placed in a temple on the hill, which formed the Center of every capital in Cambodia with the welfare of the state. This worship of the Shiva-Linga seems from the first, to have been recognized as the state cult in Funan. It did not interfere with the worship of other gods. As will be seen, Vishnuism and Mahayana Buddhism flourished under the immediate successors of Khmer Kings. Today in Cambodia is entrusted on the Sacred Sword or Preah Khan, palladium of the kingdom who helps to choose a king in case of a disputed succession.

How a king of Cambodia was chosen

The King was apparently chosen by Council of Ministers, who had been appointed by his predecessors, but the choice of a new king did not take place until the demise of the old king. This is their account of the way a king was chosen. It was the custom of a Cambodia , the first in his reign, to name a Yuvaraja, whom he designated as his successor. He generally chose his eldest son. The chief minister convoked the Great council to discus and vote. The Yuvaraja must be a member of royal family.

Daily life in temples and village

It was asked by many people for us how daily life in temple and village. Evidences that archaeologists collected from inscriptions made us to know some of countryside people who lived in the past time. According to my idea is not different so much in Khmer society at the present time in countryside. It was different that Cambodia was under Hindu religion in the past. But now, Cambodia is under Buddhist religion. Every morning, the Buddhist monks have always gone out to ask the food from villagers and came back at around 11 AM. On the full moon day or other ceremonies, the people have gone to monasteries and provided the offerings or food to the monks. And in monasteries have always laymen and laywomen to help.

Architectural house or palace

The architecture of house had always taken wood, fire clay tiles,  thatch and palm leaves to build in the past time. The house was always built at a high level to easily for protecting in the wild animals and water flood or domesticated animals to live under the house. The royal palace was built from decoration wood and a tile-roof. The sandstone or brick buildings were built for worship only.

Methods of transport

As you walk through the temples you will probably wonder where the enormous blocks of stone came from and how they were transported and put into place. The accomplishment of these tasks is one of the great technical achievements of the Cambodian people. A scene on the West Side, South aisle of the inner gallery of the Bayon temple in the center of Angkor Thom City depicts some of the methods used in the stone blocks. The sandstone slab was cut from the quarry place, shaped into blocks of random size and floated by rafts along the Siem Reap River from Phnom Kulen to Angkor area around 50 to 70 kilometers, one way. The blocks were then transported to the building site by elephant or oxcart, depending on the sizes. The pair of wooden pegs were driven into specially prepared holes to a sandstone block and linked by ropes to easily transport.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

Important Events

Cambodia was probably divided into 4 periods:

1. Pre-historical period that the people lived in the caves throughout the country. They knew how to polish the stone and pottery.

2. The first and sixth century created a state, its name was Funan or Nokor Phnom by King Kaundinya with Queen Soma or Liu Yeh and next generations. May be in the half of sixth to the eight century created another state, its name Chenla or Zhenla. Duration in that period, Chenla itself split into two parts, upper and lower Zhenla created by King Kambu with Queen Mera and next generations.


3. Ninth to Fifteenth century is Angkor period created by King Jayavarman II with Queen Dharanindradevi and next generations.

4. Sixteenth century and until now Phnom Penh, Lovek and Phnom Penh period created by King Ponha Yat or Gam Yat with Sisa Ngam and next generations.

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