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The real face of Khmer religious syncretism

The real face of Khmer religious syncretism


After the Cham invasion sacked Angkor Wat and submitted Khmer empire to foreign rule, the future Jayavarman VII succeeded in organizing the struggle against the foreign invader and in 1181 was crown king at the age of 61. His reign which lasted 30 years was one of the most brilliant and he brought Khmer empire to its highest dimensions.

His broad and opened face, his lips joined, the eyes reduced to the line of the eyelid create a feeling of interiority and suggest quietness and inner joy. But this Buddhist ideal contrast sharply with the fact he has been one of the greatest conqueror Khmer empire had known. He was also an incredible builder. After his coronation he rebuilt the city of Angkor which is now known as Angkor Thom with the Bayon as its center. Mahayana Buddhism then became the state religion and the Bayon the axis of the world.

Cambodian people widely agree that it was King Jayavarman VII who resonates the most in Cambodian history for his fostering of the resurgence of Buddhism and his reigning over the largest-ever extent of the Khmer empire.


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