Khmer Empire Antiquities Part II

In May 2019 I had the opportunity to explore the Art Institute of Chicago and Field Museum to research and analyze the ancient Khmer empire artifacts from Cambodia as research for an upcoming book. It was my delight to explore similar artifacts from this Labor Day in Kansas City at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

There are a few similarities but also unique findings as well. As in Chicago it was in Kansas City that the description of these artifacts are incorrect. Minor points to help the general public understand but my way of thinking says that breeds ignorance. Let’s accept them for what they are instead of pandering, shall we?

As always though, I am grateful for the chance to explore more about this culture that has intrigued me since 1993 when I first discovered a book tucked away in the archives of a university library.

A partial bas-relief describing the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.
Sugriva the monkey king (end) leads smaller gods in this work.
Seated Buddha meditating for seven weeks. The serpent king lifts him up to prevent him drowning during a flooding storm. The artifact hosted in Chicago is more complete with the serpent’s head raised above and covering Buddha from the rains.
A pillar fragment with a heavenly maiden or devata in sandstone.
The crown on her head resembles the towers of the Angor Wat temple.
Except for the docents, we had the Nelson Atkins museum to ourselves.