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Cambodia Arts - one of the most diverse and abundant arts in Southeast Asia

Last updated: August 17, 2020 / Views

Cambodia is home to some of the most diverse and abundant arts and culture in Southeast Asia. Throughout Cambodia's history, religious principles guided and inspired its arts. A unique Khmer style emerged from the combination of indigenous animistic beliefs and the originally Indian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Music, dance, theater and cinema flowed strongly through the blood of the Cambodian people.

Cambodia is home to some of the most diverse and abundant arts and culture in Southeast Asia. Throughout Cambodia's history, religious principles guided and inspired its arts. A unique Khmer style emerged from the combination of indigenous animistic beliefs and the originally Indian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Music, dance, theater and cinema flowed strongly through the blood of the Cambodian people.

Apsara dancer

Apsara dance

The Khmer art has roots from the Angkor period. Massive temples from this period, including Angkor Wat and the Bayon at Angkor Thom, testify to the power of Angkor and the grandeur of its architecture and decorative art. The unparalleled achievements in art, architecture, music, and dance during this period served as models for later cultural development in Cambodia.

In pre-colonial Cambodia, arts and crafts were generally produced by skilled artists producing works for the Royal Palace as well as rural non-specialists. Traditional Cambodian arts and crafts include textiles, non-textile weaving, silversmithing, stone carving, lacquer ware, ceramics, wat murals, and kite-making. In modern Cambodia, many artistic traditions entered a period of decline or even ceased to be practiced, but the country has experienced a recent artistic revival as the tourist market has increased and governments and non-government organizations have contributed to the preservation of Cambodian culture.


Stone Carving

Stone Carving

For many thousands of years, the art of stone carving has flourished in Cambodia. From the small statues made by local artisans to the famous, breathtaking carvings found at Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, stone carving has become one of the country's most cherished art forms. Stone carving has been both a passion and a livelihood for every Cambodian sculptor. Classical dance has been part of Cambodian culture since the royal courts at Angkor. It is a unique contribution to the World’s Culture. Traditionally, dances were done as a sacred ritual, for example, to summon gods and spirits or to offer blessings of prosperity to the king. Carvings of Cambodian classical dancers can be found at many bas reliefs in Angkor Wat or other ancient temples. Today, classical dance is offered at public events, holidays, and as a way to educate tourists about Cambodian culture. There are many tours welcome tourists to Cambodia by a traditional classical dance performance.

In closing, from the impressive stone carvings of the Angkor period through to exquisite silk weaving, Cambodia or Khmer art is, without a doubt, one of the most richly diverse in the world. Nowadays, Cambodia art can be seen not only in monuments, temples and museums but also in traditional workshops, which offer a fun and interactive approach to visitors wishing to know more about Cambodian arts and crafts.

You may also like: Cambodia Architecture - synonymous with Khmer architecture

Thuy Linh

Image sources: Internet

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