Cambodia Angkor Wat Cambodia

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  • Angkor Wat


  • Angkor: old kingdom (7th-13th centuries)

  • Capital city: Phnom Penn

  • Religion: Hinduism (7th-12th centuries), Mahayana Buddhism (12th-14th centuries); Theravada Buddhism (15th-present)

  • Khmer ethnic

  • Mon-Khmer language


  • Polytheistic religion (worship many gods and goddesses)

  • Goal is to achieve moksa--by praying, worshipping (darsana) and giving offering to gods

  • Each god has a female companion and rides on vehicle such as bull (Nandi), lion, goose; each holds some attributes (Siva: tridents and Vishnu: conch shell and wheel)


  • Brahma-God of Creator

  • Vishnu-God of Preserver (has many incarnations such as Rama and Krishna)

  • Shiva-God of Destroyer (also the protector of animals)

  • Devi-goddess (e.g., Laksmi (“Good Fortune”) and Parvati); symbolizing beauty, benevolent, and wealth as well as power and wrath

Angkor Wat

  • King Suryavarman II (c. 1112-1150 CE)

  • Hindu temple, facing West (direction of death), associates with Vishnu

  • It symbolizes the center of the universe, Mount Meru

  • The moat symbolizes the oceans surrounding the earth

  • The succession of concentric galleries represent the mountain ranges that surround Mount Meru

  • The towers (Gopura) represent the mountain’s peaks

  • It was converted to Theravada temple in the 15th century



  • sculpture: 8 arm Vishnu may have been located in the main sanctuary

  • Interior decorated with bas-relief

  • Themes: Ramayana and Mahabartha epics

  • Historic procession of King Suryavarman II and court

  • The West and East sides depicted the Heavens and Hells

  • Apsaras (celestial beings): approximately 2000

The Churning of the Sea of Milk

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