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Ayutthaya at Angkor: A Reappraisal
Ayutthaya at Angkor: A Reappraisal
C. Pottier at Conference "Thai-Cambodian Relations", Mahidol University, Salaya
28 MAY 14
On May 27-28, 2014, Christophe Pottier will participate the 2nd Academic Conference on "Thai-Cambodian Relations: From Conflict to Cooperation" organized by and held at Mahidol University International College (MUIC), Salaya, Thailand, in cooperation with Kdei Karuna Organization (KdK), Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The conference is part of an academic exchange program on Exploring ASEAN History and Cooperation, co-funded by the German International Cooperation agency GIZ and Open Society Foundations (OSF) and aims to bring together students, scholars and practitioners working in Thailand, Cambodia and the wider ASEAN region.

Christophe Pottier's presentation at the conference:

"Ayutthaya at Angkor: a reappraisal"

In 1933, the fragments of a monumental statue of the Buddha sitting on Nāga (Maravichaya) were unearthed within the central sanctuary of the Bayon. Since then, this image has been celebrated as the central deity of Angkor Thom, the capital of the Khmer kingdom, and would have disappeared during an iconoclastic reaction shortly after the reign of the great King Jayavarman VII. 

Eighty years later, we conducted a reappraisal of that spectacular discovery, focusing especially on the head of a smaller Buddha statue that was found with the Great Buddha of the Bayon but went unnoticed. Yet this small image reveals much about the history of Angkor between the 13th and 16th centuries, particularly on the poorly known period of the abandonment of Angkor. 

This small Buddha head belongs to the typical style of the early Ayutthaya period, and the identification of more than forty other similar images in Angkor are the first physical evidence of the occupation of Angkor by the king of Ayutthaya in the 15th century. This little head demonstrates the maintenance of the Buddhist worship at the Bayon and calls into question the interpretation of the iconoclasm of the 13th century and of the nature and duration of the Ayutthayan presence in Angkor in the 15th century.