Historic Cambodian maps on show for first time

Historic Cambodian maps on show for first time

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Formerly a classical cellist, Seiji helped pioneer the broken beat musical genre and brings his eclectic influences to Pontoon tonight.

FOR the first time ever, visitors to the French Cultural Centre (CCF) will be able to see a collection of the oldest maps remaining in Cambodia from July 4.

These 54 pieces were offered to the king Norodom Sihamoni by the French School of Extreme-Orient (EFEO) last year.

It is not known who commissioned these maps or who drew them. However, the experts have estimated they were drawn some time between 1884 and 1892, during the reign of King Norodom I and the French protectorate.

The maps are captioned in Khmer and all the provinces are represented in a great diversity of forms, according to the variety and number of unknown artists who originally drew the maps.

If the project’s aim was to represent the administrative regions through maps, it could be seen as a failure. But it’s a great testimony to the ways artists managed to represent the country’s geography, outside French norms of map-making.

There are several kinds of maps on show, one of which puts the emphasis on itineraries, measuring distance by a day’s walk to give people the practical details they needed to plan their trip. Another kind of map shows the cardinal points on an unrealistic scale but showing the exact position of the sites.

Extra details are shown in poetic backdrops, such as a large tree with the name of its species. Another kind of map shows co-ordinates specifying the location of inhabited villages, towns and monasteries.

In Camdodia, 9th-century relics are better-known and certificated than these forgotten treasures of the 19th century. They represent a triumph of archaeological study.

The exhibition opens Monday July 4 at 6:30 pm and runs until August 28 at the CCF (218 Street 184).

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