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01.08.2015
OBERHAUSEN (Germany): A small photo camera placed in a book and used by the US Central Intelligence Agency, »s displayed at the Top Secret' Spy Museum here on Wednesday. As you can see below, Larry heads to the British Museum along with his son Nick (Skyler Gisondo), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), Atilla the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) and the tiny duo of Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan) after an important tomb is unearthed. Decoding an archaeological mystery: Who were the ancient women carved on the Khmer temple of Angkor Wat?
In early 20th century Cambodia, George Groslier established the School of Cambodian Arts, teaching students the crafts of modelling, wood-carving, sculpture, bronze-casting, furniture-making, the art of the gold­smith or silversmith, and (for girls) weaving. Born in Phnom Penh in 1887, George Groslier was a French artist, author, architect and historian who devoted his life to the study and revival of the ancient arts of the Khmer civilization.
A visit to the classrooms at Phnom Penh disperses all doubt as to the quality of the seed that is being cultivated. At the end of three months the students start to learn the technique of their chosen craft: modelling, wood-carving, sculpture, bronze-casting, furniture-making, the art of the gold­smith or silversmith, or (for girls) weaving. George Groslier with students and teachers from the weaving class at the School of Cambodian Arts, 1925. The ancient art of weaving has lived on more robustly in Cambodia than the other arts, no doubt owing to the need to supply the bonzes with their coarse cotton robes and the people with their simple garments. A Cambodian lady acts as instructress, and is to be seen every day at her hand-loom, on which the lovely patterns in their mellow colourings seem to grow like flowers under her magic touch. Perhaps the most interesting of the arts that are being revived in these remarkable studios is that of making the exquisite little bronzes—some of them copies of treasures found buried, or dredged up from the bed of the River Mekong-and others taken from figures on the bas-reliefs; a collection of these forms a delightful little exhibition of its own in a special department of the museum, with the added charm to the visitor that everything in it is for sale.
Their creators never so much as glance up from their task, if a stranger stops beside them to watch some dainty little figure, measuring perhaps three or four inches from top to toe, being modelled in black wax from which the cast will presently be taken to receive the bronze of the final stage. French casting of a Khmer dancer based on works by the School of Cambodian Arts (possibly from the studio of Alfred Finot, 1876-1947). Some of these fairy dancing figures, with their fine-pointed head-dress, their bracelets and ornaments, their lotus-buds and back-curving slender fingers, exact fac­similes in miniature of the Apsaras of the Angkor carvings and of the living Cambodian dancers of today, take more than three months to finish; and they may be bought from the collection exhibited at the museum, or any desired design will be copied for you to order, and posted free of all Customs complications to any part of the world, for the absurd sum of three or four piastres upward. The same may be said of the silver and goldwork, which also is copied from ancient models; the deeply cut designs, which have almost the effect of very fine carving, are executed by pressing the soft metal with a pointed tool into a bed of wax which is afterwards removed.
Born in Phnom Penh in 1887, George Groslier was a French artist, author, architect and historian who devoted his life to the study and revival of the ancient arts of the Khmer civilization. Few, probably, of the tourists who hurry through Phnom Penh on their way to Angkor, realize that the exception­ally beautiful Museum, with its high-peaked curving roofs and richly carved doors, is not only a repository of Khmer treasures, but a forcing-house for the crafts whose seed the Khmers have transmitted to their descendants. In 1913 Henri Marchal (afterwards for many years Conservator of Angkor) drew public attention to the neglect of the ancient native crafts; and two years later the ‘Society of Friends of Angkor’ put forward a scheme for a school to foster these arts before the few surviving experts should have died out. The grand opening of the museum during the Cambodian New Year celebrations of 1920, on April 13.
The new school ‘caught on’ with the natives beyond all anticipations, and more than a hundred pupils appeared within three weeks of the doors being opened.
This Cambodia Daily article by Michelle Vachon describes the Royal Cambodian dancers of Sisowath in 1927 photos by George Groslier. These prophetic words could have been written at any time, but they were actually penned in 1928 by Georges Groslier, founder and director of the National Museum in Phnom Penh. Georges Groslier’s concern for the future of Khmer classical dance had led him, one year earlier, to immortalize those dance movements in hundreds of photographs.
The images he took 86 years ago went on display Thursday at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, one of New York City’s most famed theaters.
Phloeun Prim, director of the Phnom Penh-based Cambodian Living Arts, who originated the idea for Season of Cambodia, said Georges Groslier’s photographs were a perfect backdrop for the Cambodian Royal Ballet’s performance during the festival. George Groslier’s photo sessions took place at the National Museum in Phnom Penh and lasted months as every dancer’s movement had to be discussed and checked by master dancers before being photographed.
The result was 900 photos taken on glass negatives that laid forgotten until Bertrand Porte of the French research institution Ecole francaise d’Extreme-Orient (EFEO) and his colleagues in the museum’s restoration workshop found them neglected in the museum and rescued them in the late 2000s. Thirty-six photos plus a slide show featuring 466 images from Georges Groslier’s collection were prepared by Mr. The photos will remain on display at the Lincoln Center until May 11 and will afterwards become part of the archive at the New York library’s Jerome Robbins Dance Division, said Barbara Cohen-Stratyner, the library’s curator of exhibitions. Georges Groslier would no doubt have approved of his photographs becoming part of this international collection. The multi-million dollar Sotheby's auction of a mythic warrior statue from Koh Ker, Cambodia is stopped by archaeological insight. Koh Ker, Cambodia – Protests from the Kingdom of Cambodia recently halted the multi-million dollar Sotheby’s sale of an ancient stone statue with the support  of the United States government. 10th century Cambodian sculpture from Koh Ker, previously scheduled for a multi-million dollar Sotheby’s sale. Their investigation reveals that the legal and moral issues surrounding the ownership and sale of ancient art are quite complex. One thousand years ago, the Khmer Empire ruled most of what is now Southeast Asia from its capital in Angkor. Rising above 30 meters in height, Koh Ker’s central temple-mountain of Prasat Thom was built 100 years before Angkor Wat. Early in the 10th century (for reasons that are still unclear), King Jayavarman IV and his son Harsavarman II relocated the empire’s capital from Angkor to an isolated plateau 100 km to the northeast.
In 2007, stone conservator Simon Warrack was working with the German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP), a scientific organization that had been doing critical restoration on Angkor Wat temple for more than a decade.
At Koh Ker, Warrack noticed two distinctive pedestal platforms in the first enclosure of Prasat Chen. From my own research cataloging the devata of Angkor I can attest that field work is generally hot, uncomfortable and distracting. He pondered the distinctive bases and began searching for photos in books and research archives. Warrack’s 2007 digital superimposition of the Koh Ker base and body of the Sotheby’s statue. Warrack immediately wrote a short paper to seek opinions from others in the field of Khmer studies. Such was the case of the complimentary statue that stood face to face with this one more than a thousand years ago at the Khmer capital of Koh Ker. Meanwhile, in New York, the matching sculpture was estimated to sell for millions of dollars. Regardless of the lack of facts, the ownership of both statues seems quite legal under international laws. An idealistic answer is “humanity” but even this dream can have unexpected consequences as we’ll discover below. Ironically, that silver and gold was mined in Peru by peasants working under  slave-like conditions.
On the other side of the gold coin, salvage operations generally destroy much of the archaeological evidence that exists on a wreck site.
But in this case, Odyssey Marine consistently gathers a lot of archaeological data from their sites. Cultural sensitivity about who historical objects should belong to is a fairly new concept. As noted above people have the right to own private property.
It’s worth noting that some of the most successful “acquirers” (Rockefeller, Carnegie, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates come to mind) have also proven themselves as some of our most generous givers. In the world of Khmer art, Douglas Latchford, co-author of “Adoration and Glory” with art historian Emmy Bunker, is one example.
Initially, another collector tried to assist with a solution to the thorny situation of the Koh Ker statue at Sotheby’s.
Now that this case has gone into litigation his proposal was negated, but the idea is still valid. I encourage he, Mr.
To conclude this article I contacted Simon Warrack to ask his current ideas about the ownership of historic art. Stone conservator Simon Warrack worked on structures throughout Europe including Venice’s Ducal Palace, Rome’s Trevi Fountain and Forum of Trajan, and the Cathedral of Bourges in France.
A photographic tribute to rare Khmer art objects from public and private collections around the world. Heritage Watch is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Southeast Asia’s cultural heritage.
Promoting responsible tourism with news about archaeological discoveries and conversation efforts around the world.


A story about Cambodian dance in Pictures by Anders Jiras ( Jiras) “ART CANNOT BE KILLED OFF – ALTHOUGH POL POT TRIED” Stockholm — Cambodian dance is the featured exhibition in Sweden’s Dansmuseet from March 25 until May 8.
For more than three years, Swedish photographer Anders Jiras has spent most of his time in Cambodia devoting himself to capturing dynamic images of the Cambodian performing arts. The National Museum of Cambodia recently featured his exhibition of photos of the Royal Ballet from November 2010 to February 2011. His international exhibit on Cambodian performing arts at the Museum of Dance in Stockholm, Sweden runs from 25 March – 8 May, 2011. The artist’s work has appeared in public exhibits for more than 40 years: see Anders Jiras Exhibitions 1966-2008.
Stockholm’s dance museum, located in the heart of Sweden’s capital city near the Royal Opera House, offers far more than the name reveals. The museum was founded by Rolf de Mare (1888–1964), a Swedish aristocrat, art collector and leader of the Swedish Ballet in Paris 1920–25. The exhibits and extensive library of Les Archives internationales de la Danse attracted students and visitor from all over the world. Today, the museum offers a changing array of activities including special performances, special video presentations and even the opportunity to learn popular dance forms in the spring and fall.
Admission to the museum collections is free, with admission fees only charged to meet the expenses of temporary exhibitions in the Gallerie de Mare.
To Cambodia With Love is a great guidebook with expert authors sharing travel tips and ideas for travelers to Angkor, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and beyond. To Cambodia With Love is an attractive and useful guidebook for any traveler headed to Cambodia.
When I began traveling internationally in the 1970s trips were always too expensive and too short.
Info about exotic destinations was sparse, but even a few ideas about sights, food, transport and lodging could make the difference between a memorable adventure and a stressful fiasco. The museum presents various objects, devices and gadgets used for spying or related to espionage. While there, they encounter their counterparts in Rebel Wilson, Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) and the Pharaoh (Ben Kingsley). Groslier designed what is today the National Museum of Cambodia, opening the institution on April 13, 1920. On all sides there is the sure touch, the quiet earnestness and infinite patience that are the hallmark of the Eastern craftsman. The usual period of tuition is two years, at the end of which a leaving­ certificate is given. But at Phnom Penh there is now being fostered the creation of the same gorgeous fabrics as those worn by the great Cambodian kings and nobles.
At the other looms in the same room her pupils (who also, to ignorant Western eyes, seem very expert) work on less difficult designs. An ‘exhibition piece’ in the shape of a tall chest, covered with intricately carved copies of Angkorian designs, occupies a well-deserved place of honour in their workshop; side by side with the lace-like delicacy of miniature objects chiselled with tiny tools on wood highly polished as a billiard-ball. The beautiful little goblets and vessels and boxes thus made are also to be bought at ridiculously low prices. She was a close friend of opera singer Clare Butt, whose autobiography she published in 1928.
Groslier designed what is today the National Museum of Cambodia, opening the institution on April 13, 1920.
Eventually George Groslier, on his return from war service, was invited by the Governor ­General, M.
A score or more would-be students for whom there was no room were soon always to be seen waiting on the chance that vacancies might occur, asking no more than a square yard of space in which to sit, and a scrap of paper on which to draw. In her 50s in 1927, she agreed to help Georges Groslier archive Khmer classical dance movements in photographic form. The exhibition, organized by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, is part of the Season of Cambodia festival, which begins in two weeks in New York. At the death of King Norodom in 1904, the number of dancers had drastically de­creased due to King Sisowath’s reduced palace budget. After lengthy restoration work, they were exhibited for the first time at the National Museum in late 2011 and early 2012. Porte, and sent to New York for the forthcoming festival by the National Museum in co­operation with the EFEO. During their heyday, the architecturally and artistically sophisticated Khmer people created some of humanity’s most extraordinary stone temples and statues. There they built the city of Koh Ker, a huge new complex of temples and shrines, where they established their throne for a brief 16 year period (928-944 AD). In May, Warrack took a side trip to the Koh Ker site (Google Map link) to consider future conservation needs there. There, by the west gopura (an entry structure), he saw the feet where two statues had clearly been broken off. Almost all of my discoveries happen at my desk in Florida examining photos taken weeks or years before at remote locations. Determining the original location of displaced objects can be a huge help in interpreting their meaning and significance within the context of an ancient civilization.
When pictures began to circulate it was instantaneously clear that this was the long-lost companion to the statue Warrack had connected to the Norton Simon Museum three years earlier. My personal goal would be for historical assets to be accessible to everyone who wants to respect them, preserve them, appreciate them and learn from them.
Can a government or private entity destroy something offensive or blasphemous to their values or religion?
Can a private group use its own funds to recover or preserve historical objects that were clearly abandoned by the original owners hundreds or even thousands of years earlier?
Peru, of course, came under Spanish control in the 16th century when conquistadors brutally subjugated the Inca civilization in their quest for territory, power and treasure. And is it reasonable to ask when and how carefully archaeologists would be excavating this particular site more than half a kilometer deep?
Do poor people have the right to take abandoned objects from public places just to survive?
But what if the original owner (or the factory, or the country where it was built) tried to reclaim it because “I parked it too long” or “I wasn’t taking care of it” or “they want to study it” or “it belongs in the original place”? Fortunately, a combination of these factors may lead to a resolution to the quandary of the Sotheby’s statue sale. Latchford and other generous collectors to continue sharing the objects of their passion with the world.
Just as it is good for a child in Pasadena to experience the art of Cambodia, wouldn’t it also be wonderful for a child of Cambodia to see pieces of American history? In 1995, he began more than a decade of work with the German Apsara Conservation Project preserving critical sections of the 12th century temple of Angkor Wat.
The contents were curated by Douglas Latchford and Emma Bunker and each piece includes a detailed analysis. Chen has conducted a major study about the history, art and archaeology of Koh Ker and the reign of Jayavarman IV. The powerful images hold special meaning because they are the work of Swedish photographer Anders Jiras, who has spent years in Cambodia devoted to documenting Cambodian performing arts.
Aside from the architecture, Cambodian dance is now what visitors find most captivating, as the disciplines of dance, drama, shadow puppetry, folk dance and music merge into each other. However, Cambodian culture is strong, with dance and music an expression of a cohesive power. Its colorful displays show visitors an historic and creative range of theatrical arts, from the Russian and Swedish ballets in Paris, circa 1910-1930, to the rich cultural dance forms of Asia and Africa. Les Archives offered lectures, dance demonstrations, and published its own magazine and books. Its secret is that this book offers a unique collection of tips and ideas that readers simply won’t find anywhere else. If anything, there’s too much information available and online sources aren’t always reliable. Simultaneously, he founded the School of Cambodian Arts to revive the classic crafts of Cambodia.


Students enter the school at fifteen, starting with a course of drawing; first copying the flowing patterns of the Khmer mouldings, working up by degrees to intricate designs from the infinite variety of medallions on the walls of Angkor Wat and elsewhere.
A small-size sampot, on the loom of the mistress of her craft, takes about a fortnight in the making.
Like American adventuress Helen Churchill Candee, Miss Ponder traveled extensively in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, authoring four important books about Cambodia and Java. With the coming of the French (as so often happens when foreign influences have free play among Eastern peoples) the novelty of imported European goods dis­tracted attention from old familiar things; and the protec­tion and support that the King and native aristocracy had always given to the arts was more and more withdrawn.
Albert Sarraut, to organize the scheme; and his programme—which emphasized that the instruction should be in the true native arts, without any attempt to influence or ‘improve’ them—being adopted without reserve, a credit of 150,000 piastres was voted. Somehow or other the welcome news filtered through to the old men in the rice fields and forests, that the skill they had thought despised and forgotten was needed again; and in they came hastening, rubbing stiffened hands, conning over details of processes untouched, perhaps, for twenty years, but happily too deeply engraved in memory to be forgotten. Like American adventuress Helen Churchill Candee, Miss Ponder traveled extensively in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, authoring four important books about Cambodia and Java.
The slide show features additional images from the Groslier collection, maintained by the National Museum of Cambodia. Ith, right, would only pose for the camera when her rival in the Royal Ballet was absent, Georges Groslier wrote in 1928. By 1927, King Sisowath was 87 years old and Georges Groslier feared that the Royal Ballet would all but disappear when the King passed away. But like a good Indiana Jones movie, the real story of this lost treasure began with a flash of archaeological insight in a remote Asian jungle half a world away.
Apart from a few stone inscriptions, however, no written records of the civilization survived.
Like all great Khmer cities, Koh Ker was ultimately abandoned and swallowed up by the jungle. In “Adoration and Glory – The Golden Age of Khmer Art” by Emma Bunker and Douglas Latchford one image stood out. The record shows that the Norton Simon piece was acquired legitimately and is on public display for educational, artistic and cultural appreciation.
But this philosophy wouldn’t get me through the front door at most of the world’s public institutions holding these assets (let alone to private collections). The laws protecting heritage assets have evolved considerably over the past few decades, and they continue to do so.
It seems we can all learn much from Odyssey’s digital photos, detailed site maps and the thousands of objects recovered.
After a lifetime of actively hunting, obsessively gathering and painstakingly preserving the rare objects they crave…many end up donating their collections to public institutions. Over the years he and his friends have shared financial gifts with the National Museum of Cambodia.
Like many passionate collectors he invested his money in rare books, antiques and works of art. Warrack has also helped establish several stone conservation training programs, including a workshop for students at Preah Vihear. With so little written down, passing on and preserving the dance as part of an oral tradition was problematic.
In the late 1940s de Mare closed his institution in Paris and donated parts of the collections to the French state.
Beyond that, most modern travelers are seeking insights and experiences much deeper than “been there, done that”.
Ponder published "Cambodian Glory," including a detailed chapter about this unique school titled "The Tree of Knowledge.” This is the second of a four-part series of articles excerpted from her work. In recognition of her original research work, and her contributions to geographical knowledge, Miss Ponder became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London.
So one by one the old craftsmen with the secrets of their forefathers’ lovely arts hidden in their brains and hands, crept sadly back to the rice fields to earn a humble living; and the decorative crafts, which till then had managed to survive centuries of almost unceasing wars, bade fair to die out at last under a regime of peace. The same year the Cambodian king issued a decree transforming the ‘Royal School’ at the Palace workshops into a ‘School of Cambodian Arts’ combined with a Cambodian museum, placing both under French control.
Its lofty galleries and classrooms open on to charming courtyards, lawns and gardens, just as, no doubt, did the rooms of the palaces of long ago; and the whole of its decoration was done by native craftsmen and their pupils.
The experts in each craft were not only appointed teachers, but grouped together in ‘corporations’, to produce articles for sale through the school, by which they are paid cash on their work being passed as satisfactory.
So, after obtaining the support of the Royal Palace, he started photographing classical dance for posterity. Out of necessity, archaeologists have had no alternative but to piece the story of the Khmer people together, clue by clue and stone by stone. The rediscovery of the Khmer civilization by Westerners didn’t begin until French explorers arrived in the second half of the 19th century. It showed a figure identified as a dvarapala (guardian) at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena California.
Some evidence suggests that both statues left Cambodia in the late 1960s, but exactly when and how that happened, and who arranged it, is unknown. But the fact remains that countless artifacts were legally acquired by collectors (“noble ladies” included) as well as public museums since the beginning of time.
US courts ruled against Odyssey and returned all the artifacts to Spain but Peru’s claim to the artifacts was ignored. More significantly, he is the museum’s biggest contributor of artifacts (read more about Douglas Latchford on KI-Media). Motivated by a love of art and curiosity about the objects he found, he became an increasingly sought after consulting expert for museums and archaeologists around the world. The owner would be compensated for her private property, huge amounts of time and money would not be wasted on legal litigation, and the people who respect and admire the art of the Khmer people could once again see this expression of creativity in the land where it was born.
With nine out of ten dancers from the Royal Palace killed during Pol Pot’s reign of terror in the 1970s, parts of the tradition were lost.
He then brought the non-European collections and his huge collection from the Swedish Ballet in Paris to Stockholm to found the dance museum – Dansmuseet – which opened in 1953. Enter senior editor Kim Fay with a new concept to create “travel guides for the connoisseur”. The magnificently carved doors and shutters are their most notable achievement, as well as the most interesting for comparison with the carvings of Angkor. These ‘Corporations Cambodgiennes’ achieved immed­iate success; and a series of articles by M. But it also mentions things like Henry VIII’s systematic destruction of all the monasteries in England, Wales and Ireland. Odyssey Marine Exploration in Tampa Florida just got a harsh lesson in how arbitrarily this question can be answered. Odyssey spent years working to locate and salvage a ship in international waters off the coast of Portugal.
Now the responsibility falls to Spain to educate and inspire us with their recovered objects. In 2011 his dreams culminated with his greatest achievement: founding the Zelnik Istvan Southeast Asian Gold Museum in Budapest Hungary. The centre door, measuring 16 feet by 7, was carved in 45 days by eight old craftsmen and ten of their pupils. Groslier in the Revue Indo-chinoise, setting out the details of his scheme, attracted such attention as to result in the formation of similar schools and ‘corporations’ in other parts of Indo­-China on the Cambodian model.
Near my home in Sarasota Florida a debate has run for months about erasing a mural that may promote gangs.
After scanning images and digitally combining them Warrack confirmed the close match between the two fragments. Update April 6: The store owner reluctantly chose to paint over the art due to the controversy. To be continued in Part 2: George Groslier and the School of Cambodian Arts-Part 2 Khmer Crafts.



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