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Temple Watch: Focus on domestic rituals


The iconic faces of the Bayon have always been a symbol of Angkor. Said to represent a cross between the faces of Jayavarman VII and the compassionate Buddha, these faces have been a fascination to all who visit this magnificent temple.  The 52 towers feature more than 200 remaining faces, and many people who visit Bayon focus on these without taking time to look at the outer galleries. There are 1.5 kilometres of bas reliefs in the outer galleries of the Bayon. Many scenes show great battles between Khmer soldiers, some with the assistance of Chinese soldiers. The reliefs of naval battles show boats, similar in style to the traditional craft used today, with fallen warriors succumbing to the jaws of crocodiles under the vessels.  Many bas reliefs are of interest because they represent daily life 800 years ago. A keen-eyed observer will see fishing and farming scenes, gamblers, chess players, cock fighting and hunting. There are also domestic scenes of cooking and fish being smoked. The domestic rituals shown on the reliefs  are going on in much the same way today. 



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