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The hidden paintings of Angkor Wat

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

Noel Hidalgo Tan
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology and Natural History, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia (Email: noel.tan@anu.edu.au)
Im Sokrithy
Affiliation:
APSARA Authority, Bangkoung Village, Ampil District, Siem Reap Town, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
Heng Than
Affiliation:
APSARA Authority, Bangkoung Village, Ampil District, Siem Reap Town, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
Khieu Chan
Affiliation:
APSARA Authority, Bangkoung Village, Ampil District, Siem Reap Town, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Abstract

The temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is one of the most famous monuments in the world and is noted for its spectacular bas-relief friezes depicting ceremonial and religious scenes. Recent work reported here has identified an entirely new series of images consisting of paintings of boats, animals, deities and buildings. Difficult to see with the naked eye, these can be enhanced by digital photography and decorrelation stretch analysis, a technique recently used with great success in rock art studies. The paintings found at Angkor Wat seem to belong to a specific phase of the temple's history in the sixteenth century AD when it was converted from a Vishnavaite Hindu use to Theravada Buddhist.

Type
Research
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 2014

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