A remarkable group of seven bronze figures was unearthed in Kampong Cham province, Cambodia, in 2006. These sixth- and seventh-century Buddhist sculptures, two of which were Chinese, ultimately were acquired by the National Museum of Cambodia. There they became one of the first projects of the institution's Metal Conservation Laboratory, created with the assistance of the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
Gods of Angkor celebrates not only the collaborative efforts of the Cambodian and U.S. museums to restore and interpret these important images, but also the accomplishments of Khmer bronze casters from the fourth century BCE to the fourteenth century CE. The authors decipher the makeup and meaning of bronze figural images, ritual vessels, and other objects, placing them in the context of Southeast Asian life and worship from prehistoric times through the pre-Angkorian and Angkorian eras. Together, the bronzes reveal vivid details of the significance of this important medium within Khmer culture and of the artistic and religious interactions of the Khmer with their neighbors.
Louise Allison Cort is curator of ceramics and Paul Jett is head of the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, both at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. Other contributors include Ian C. Glover, John Guy, and Hiram Woodward Jr.