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Cambodian Culture

January 13, 2015


Cambodia's ancient traditions and rich cultural heritage are still visible today. Omar Havana traveled the country to capture them for this photo essay.

Published on Jan 13, 2015

 

"Slaves of the God"

At least 1,737 nymph carvings adorn the temples of Angkor, to which generations of dancers "belonged" from the 7th to 15th centuries. They were embodiments of life-creating energy sprung from a process for which the temples were metaphors.

Slaves of the God

 

Classical Apsara dancers

Icons of the Angkorean period, royal dance troupes were kidnapped by the Siamese in 1431, and killed by the Khmer Rouge. These performers at Thomeanon Temple are helping usher in the art's current revival.

Classical Aspara Dancers

 

Earthly tributes to heaven

The Royal Ballet of Cambodia is on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage list. Upon seeing them perform in France in 1906, Auguste Rodin said, "It is impossible to see human nature carried to such perfection."

Royal Ballet of Cambodia

 

Practice makes perfect

Two dancers-in-training at a Siem Reap school are among hundreds across the country. Children as young as six are selected to study for their aptitude and flexibility. A good performer must have mastered some 4,500 basic gestures.

Classical Aspara Dancers

 

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