Angkor is widely considered to be among the world’s most magnificent architectural masterpieces – its extensive complexes and detailed stone carvings have intrigued innumerable travellers, scientists, historians, and archaeologists since its sensational re-emergence onto the world stage in the late 19th century. The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) welcomes you to re-discover the art, architecture, and legacy of this ancient city through its special exhibition Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City. Masterpieces of the Musée national des arts asiatiques-Guimet. The exhibition showcases more than 140 sculptures, watercolours, drawings, and historic memorabilia from the Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet (Guimet Museum), one of the premier Asian art museums in Europe.
Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City kicks off ACM’s Year of Southeast Asia, which features exhibitions dedicated to Southeast Asian art, culture, and heritage. The special exhibition is a collaboration with the Guimet Museum, and features the largest-ever display of its masterpieces in Asia. Objects range from exquisite Khmer sculptures architectural elements in stone and bronze dating as far back as the 6th century, to drawings, rare photographs, and memorabilia made by the French in the 1800s and 1900s. This is the first time that ACM is presenting an exhibition on Angkor.
Angkor’s renown outside Asia grew largely due to the French missions of 1866 and 1873. Much of these initial efforts can be credited in particular to the watercolours made by French explorer and artist Louis Delaporte, and photographs by his countryman Émile Gsell. The first section of the exhibition showcases photographs, watercolours, prints, architectural drawings, rubbings, and mouldings of temple facades made by Delaporte, Gsell and other early French explorers. They provided Europe an eye into the region, which in turn helped to greatly enhance international knowledge and awareness of Angkor. Of special note are the plaster casts made in the late 1800s by French explorers in Angkor. One of the casts in the exhibition is the only remaining record of a bas-relief scene destroyed when a wall collapsed in the 1940s.
The second part of the exhibition features masterpieces of Khmer art from the Guimet Museum. More than 50 sculptures provide an overview of progression of Khmer art and artistry, illustrating the skill of Khmer craftsmen as they transformed raw stone into striking sculptures that capture delicate facial features, elaborate drapery, and the soft realism of the body. Visitors will be able to examine up close, stunning pieces that depict the various deities from Angkor’s Hindu and Buddhist pantheon, while learning about Khmer faith and cosmology.
The exhibition is part of the ongoing Voilah! French Festival Singapore 2018.
Extended till 29 July 2018!
Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555
When: 8 Apr - 29 Jul 2018,