Because I am still researching my novel based on the Khmer empire in Cambodia, I had hoped to discover some relics or art from this period and the Art Institute of Chicago did not disappoint.

What was disappointing were the descriptions of the artifacts. Which temple site was this taken from? Did the institute know?

One more disappointing concern? The description placards all say “Angkor period”. To be intellectually honest, let’s call it what it is. These were all from the Khmer Empire of Cambodia in the 11-12th centuries. The name Angkor is a reference to two of the biggest temples in this region, Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. The terms “Khmer” or “empire” were not mentioned.

All these disappointments are cast aside for now because of the thrill of discovery. They were beautiful in a way that only those who study the culture can appreciate. Up until this moment I had only discovered a bas relief of an apsara dancer in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

For now, I will appreciate the experience but will write to the Art Institute for detailed information about this amazing collection.

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Angkor period 12/13th century Cambodia

Buddha, Khmer Empire period, 11th century. Here the naga (snake) raises him from flooding waters during his meditation and protects him from the rains on his head.
A goddess Angkor period, 12th century Cambodia
A celestial dancer called an Apsara. Angkor period, 11th century Cambodia
Guardian Lion Angkor period, 12th century Cambodia
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