Khmer Empire Hypothesis

Since my research on the Khmer empire of Cambodia seems to be in a bit of a lull right now and have been unable to articulate it into text properly, I want to go ahead and put my hypothesis out in public. I have yet to read any archeologist’s research or conjecture about this and I think it could be enlightening for the ancient history of this empire.

High up in the Kulen Hills, northeast of the Angkor province there is a river flowing through it with a unique archeological feature called the Valley of the 1000 Lingas. The stream bed has carvings representing Hindu deities along with thousands of phallic-shaped stones. Along with the are a few yonis, representing females and wombs.

The thinking here is this valley is an underwater temple and that the water flowing through this temple would bless or fertilize the fascinating water features of the Angkor temple complex below. The water would also flow into the lake called Tonle Sap and the surrounding rice fields. Here, the Khmer civilization itself would thrive and grow into an empire of at least one million around Angkor Was alone.

My theory is that the original kingdom started in these hills and then migrated down into the plains below. The Angkor Was temple site was built around this idea of a blessed kingdom.

A yoni, representing a womb with eggs and a birth canal bears an amazing resemblance to the Angkor Was temple site itself.

The five tower spires representing the five eggs inside a yoni above Angkor Wat

It is a hypothesis to be sure and I would love to prove it on-site in the near future.

Khmer Empire Antiquities

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