Tuesday, May 13, 2008

River monsters of the Bayon.

The bas-reliefs that line the outer walls of Angkor's Bayon depict scenes from life under the Khmer empire. Many of the stories are of historical battles, of Khmer soldiers in combat against Cham armies. Other scenes are of everyday life: citizens gather at the market, men watch a cockfight, women groom their friends' hair. There are also some more unusual scenes tucked between the chatting old ladies and the armored elephants: an old man climbs a tree to hide from a hungry tiger; a parade of unusual circus animals march through town. This empire of stone is watched over by a host of river dwellers: lazy crocodiles and giant fish that seem to observe the procession of human history with only a passing interest.

Some of these creatures seem truly monstrous, like the crocodiles that wait for the victims of war...

... or the fish that swallowed a deer.

But in most cases, they seem merely indifferent to the lives of the humans around them.

3 comments:

Yoli said...

Oh that is so beautiful, thank you for posting these!

Prêt à Voyager said...

The images alone are so strong. I can't wait to see the real deal :)

Anne

Bordeaux said...

The Bayon is my favorite amongst the more rescued monuments. It's much more atmospheric than Angkor Wat and I'm always intrigued by the reliefs on the outer walls here.