Category Archives: Cambodia

Ramayana, Buddhist dance at India’s southeast Asian fiesta

IANS | New Delhi
February 4, 2014 Last Updated at 22:20 IST

Stories of epic Ramayana narrated through ballet dance, Buddhist sacred dance and chants, different cuisines of India, traditional “mehndi” art, yoga and a film festival — these are some highlights of the cultural ministry’s festival in four southeast Asian countries.

With a view to facilitate and encourage cooperation in the realms of art and culture, education and mass media, “Festival of India”, organised under the aegis of ministry of culture will be taking a delegation of 75 artistes to numerous cities of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar in February and March, where they will use various platforms to showcase Indian culture.

“It is one of the biggest delegations that we (culture ministry) will be taking to southeast Asia. We have focussed on elements of Buddhism and Ramayana because these two have a strong cultural resonance in these countries,” V. Srinivas, joint secretary, ministry of culture, said at a press conference Tuesday. Continue reading

Monks and lotus flower Buddha faces feature in new art show

The Phnom Penh Post
Miranda Glasser
7 February 2014

Enlightenments and Entitlements by Hotel 1961 artist in residence Phok ‘Bee’ Sopheap.Miranda Glasser

Watercolours of monks in repose, and enormous canvases of Buddha faces made of lotus flowers make up a new exhibition Fading Faces, opening at Hotel 1961 tomorrow night. Displaying the works of two returning Battambang artists, Kakkada Chhai and Phok Sopheap, the exhibition will run until April 2014.

The concept, says curator Loven Ramos, combines the artists’ two themes – Chhai’s collection is called Fading, while Phok, aka ‘Bee’ has named his Faces.

“Bee’s is all about faces, and the different phases that go with it, as a metaphor for his life and the country as well,” says Ramos. “Kakkada on the other hand is working more against faces, so he’s trying to cover the monks’ faces because he wants to take away the face of Buddhism in order to celebrate the everyday things. It’s not a celebration of Buddhism so much as a look at the little things that happen each day that give more of a human touch to the lives of the monks.” Continue reading

Cambodia recovers stolen Buddhist relics

February 07, 2014

Previous stories on this case may be found here. – Ed.

PHNOM PENH: Authorities in Cambodia have recovered a stolen urn made of gold that contains what are considered to be remnants of Buddha´s body.

The urn was taken from a mountain shrine 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside the capital in December.

Police say it was recovered Thursday in the southern province of Takeo, and one man was arrested in connection with the theft.

The national police force announced the news on their website on Friday, but gave few other details.

Several countries in Asia process relics believed to come from the body of Buddha, and the stolen urn holds enormous religious and cultural significance for Cambodia, a predominantly Buddhist nation.


Video: New Research Ancient Cambodian City Mahendraparvata
Jan 31, 2014

Buddhist monks in front of the reflection pool at Angkor Wat, the capital of the Khmer Empire. The founding city of the Empire was called Mahendraparvata. Image credit: Sam Garza / CC BY 2.0.

Buddhist monks in front of the reflection pool at Angkor Wat, the capital of the Khmer Empire. The founding city of the Empire was called Mahendraparvata. Image credit: Sam Garza / CC BY 2.0.

Mahendraparvata was founded by King Jayavarman II – the ruler of the Khmer Kingdom – in 802 CE.

Discovered in 2013, the city is located on the plateau Phnom Kulen, around 40 km north of the famous Angkor Wat complex.

The history of Mahendraparvata is based on several written inscriptions, the most well-known being an 11th century CE inscription found in eastern Thailand. The inscription, dated to 1052 CE, tells about a private family serving successive Khmer Kings for 250 years, the first mentioned being King Jayavarman II.

The main historical and geographical significance of the Phnom Kulen plateau lies in its role as Angkor’s source of water.

Now, a team of archaeologists led by Dr Dan Penny from the University of Sydney examined soil cores and vegetation samples from one of the ancient reservoirs in the Phnom Kulen region for evidence of intensive land use during the occupation and abandonment of Mahendraparvata. Continue reading

Theft of Buddha relics sparks showdown between monks, Cambodian government

The Globe and Mail
Jan. 21 2014

What makes the recent case unusual is that in the past, kings, not grave robbers, stole relics for prestige, not for monetary gain

Monks join in the general anti-government protests gripping Cambodia. (Julie Masis For the Globe and Mail)

Monks join in the general anti-government protests gripping Cambodia.
(Julie Masis For the Globe and Mail)

At 2 o’clock one morning in early December, a guard in a Cambodian village called his supervisor to report an extraordinary crime: The relics of the Buddha were missing.

What these relics were no one could say. Some accounts described them as the Buddha’s ashes; others said they were teeth, hair or pieces of bone. Enshrined in a golden urn that was locked in a multimillion-dollar monument on top of a hill that towered above the rice fields, the relics were Cambodia’s only remains of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

Shrouded in mystery and believed to transmit spiritual power, the relics have long played a role in political power struggles. Their theft has added to the running conflict over the legitimacy of Cambodia’s government. Hundreds of monks marched through the streets of Cambodia’s capital after the relics disappeared, demanding that the government do something to find them. Continue reading

the buddhist bug project travels through cambodia

the-buddhist-bug-project-travels-through-cambodia-designboom-08reposted from Designboom
all images courtesy of the philanthropic museum

January 20, 2014

seeking to map a new spiritual and social landscape, the buddhist bug project (bbug) by cambodian artist anida yoeu ali creates a surreal existence amongst ordinary people and everyday environments. the saffron-colored creature is an autobiographical exploration of the artist’s reaction to a sense of displaced identity, as she was raised a khmer muslim but maintains an innate fascination with the buddhist religion. referencing both sacred systems, the nomadic, other-worldly creature is lined with bright orange exterior skin — the color of buddhist monk robes — and wears a head piece based on the islamic hijab. together with photographer masahiro sugano, her creative partner from studio revolt, yoeu ali has brought the bbug to cambodia where she created a series of site-specific performances, inserting the coiled character into both urban and rural landscapes.

the buddhist bug at a cafeteria

the 30-meter long personality corkscrews through the traditional cityscape, intertwining amongst the locals and their habitats, resulting in humorous and dreamlike scenarios. ‘meters and meters of textile act as skin, as a way for the surface of my body to extend into public spaces, and as a metaphoric device for stories to spread across an expanse.’, the artist says ‘for me, performance and storytelling become ways of bridging the interior and exterior space of self as well as initiate critical dialogues between communities and institutions.‘ the buddhist bug project is currently being shown for art stage singapore.


in the cambodian landscape

interacting with locals in their environment

bbug situates on a traditional boat Continue reading

Framing the Sacred – Cambodian Buddhist Painting

framing-the-sacredExhibition: Institute of East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley, 20 November 2013 – 20 March 2014

Buddhist paintings in Cambodia serve in rituals, for teaching, and as a means of making space sacred. The exhibit presents works on cloth and glass from the collection of Joel Montague that embody both the religious stories and doctrines of Cambodian Buddhism and the traditions of Cambodian culture.

A very detailed catalog of the exhibit compiled by Trent Walker, including images of the paintings, translations of painting inscriptions and accompanying Khmer liturgical material, and a short introductory essay, is freely available online.

Cambodian Monks Call For Urgent Action On Stolen Buddha Relics

PHNOM PENH, Dec 17 (Bernama) — Some 150 Buddhist monks held a protest in the capital on Tuesday in calling the government to take urgent action to deal with last week’s theft of the country’s only Buddha relics, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We urge the government to launch a serious probe into the loss of Buddha relics last week,” the monks’ representative Venerable But Buntenh told reporters in front of the Chak Tomuk Theatre.

A golden urn containing what are believed to be relics of the Buddha including hair, teeth and bones was stolen from a mountaintop shrine in the former royal city of Udong in Kandal province last Tuesday. Continue reading

Charged men ‘stole before’

Phnom Penh Post
16 December 2013

A man ascends the stairs of a stupa at Oudong Mountain last week

A man ascends the stairs of a stupa at Oudong Mountain last week. Authorities are investigating the theft of artefacts from the site. Heng Chivoan

Police knew some of the men guarding artefacts at the Royal Treasury on Oudong Mountain had stolen from the site in the past, an official said yesterday, as four security guards and a villager were charged and referred to an investigative judge.

Kandal Provincial Governor Phay Bunchouen told the Post that authorities knew some of the security guards were stealing statues of the Buddha from the site in 2010. Police also said that when they searched the chief of security’s house last week, they discovered numerous statues that had been looted from the site. Continue reading

Precious Buddhist Relics Stolen in Cambodia

December 13, 2013

Cambodian officials said Friday a golden urn containing what are considered to be remnants of Buddha’s body has been stolen from its shrine near the capital.

Government spokesman Ek Tha said the relics have enormous religious and cultural significance for Cambodians.

“This relic has been respected by Buddhist followers for thousands of years,” he said. “This theft cannot be accepted. The perpetrator and any associates who connived to commit such a crime must be prosecuted according to the law of Cambodia.”

National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said the theft was discovered Tuesday when a guard was woken by a barking dog and found the lock to the shrine’s door had been damaged and the urn removed.

He said police questioned 13 of the shrine’s guards and detained six as suspects, but that authorities had no information about the relics’ location. “We need more time to do the investigation,” he said.

Ek Tha said the relics had been moved by late King Norodom Sihanouk in 2002 from Phnom Penh, the capital, to the mountain shrine in the former royal city of Udong in a ceremony attended by tens of thousands.