Sacred Heritage of Cambodia

15 December 2006 to 9 April 2007

This is the first time that Germany will be host to an exhibition of this scale displaying art which – ever since it became known in the mid-19th century – has fascinated the culturally interested public in Europe and filled them with wonderment. Since then, the name Angkor has stood for unfathomably vast, mysterious temples, spread out in the Cambodian jungle – temples that can even today evoke the splendour that was once theirs.

Angkor represents the climax of a civilization which began to develop during the first centuries AD. The earliest Buddhist and Brahmanical (Hindu) works of art date from the 6th century.

The real Angkorian period began in the 9th century when the centre of power was shifted to the west, close to Tonle Sap. At the height of their power the Khmer ruled over the entire territory of present-day Cambodia, South-Vietnam, Laos  and the central plain of Chao Phraya in Thailand. They were one of the largest and most powerful people of Asia. The significance of the Khmer empire becomes manifest in a series of gigantic temples, of which Angkor Wat is considered to be the world´s largest sacred building.

But what was the spirit behind these stupendous temples, which were the gods they were dedicated to, what was the social and economic structure that made their construction possible? What kind of society was it that could bring forth such achievements? What was the self-image of its kings? These are some of the questions posed by anyone who wishes to get acquainted with ancient Cambodia.

And this is where the exhibition steps in. It not only provides the viewer the opportunity of gaining an overview of the diversity of art, but also takes up the most important themes in art history, so that the visitor gets an idea of the historical, social and religious context of the works.

Round 140 stone sculptures, bronze figures as well as silver objects and paintings will make their way to Bonn from the National Museum in Phnom Penh. In addition, objects on loan from the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques Guimet in Paris will also be on display at the exhibition. The show offers a unique survey of Cambodia´s culture, beginning in the 6th century with stone sculptures from the Pre-Angkor kingdoms of Funan and Zhenla. The exhibition´s main focus though is the art and architecture of the Angkor-Period (9th – 13th century). In this context the aspects of water management, rice cultivation, and trade relations, which provided the basis for the country´s exceeding wealth, will also be dicussed.


Göttliches Erbe Kambodschas
336 pages with 260 illustrations
Museum edition: 28 EUR
Trade edition: Prestel, München Externer Link in neuem Browserfenster
ISBN: 3-7913-3697-5

Cataloguecover: Angkor

Angkor on Wikipedia

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  1. Image from ExhibitionPhoto: Peter Oszvald © Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland GmbH

Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Museumsmeile Bonn
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4
53113 Bonn
T +49 228 9171–200

Opening hours

Mondays closed
Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Thursdays–Sundays, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
(including public holidays even those which fall on Mondays)

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