• Neak Pean, west fountain for ablutions
  • Palgen-Maissoneuve, Mimi, 1918-1995 (Photographer)
Date Created
1942 to 1962
Resource Type
  • Image
  • Collections this item is in
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    • Information about the creation of the object depicted in the image: End of 12th to the beginning of the 13th century
    • Information about the restoration of the object depicted in the image: 1938-1939, 1956
    • The temple of Neak Pean forms an artificial island situated in the middle of the Jayatataka baray. It is surrounded by four smaller ponds that may have functioned as ablution ponds for pilgrims. The monument has several layers of symbolism relating to Lokesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion to whom the temple is dedicated. The temple is the center of a pond which may represent Lake Anavatapta, the homeland of the gods in the Himalayas. The sanctuary of Neak Pean has pediments illustrating scenes from the life of the Buddha and large relief panels of Lokesvara. The only surviving example of sculpture is a statue of Balaha, a form of Lokesvara as a flying horse, shown rescuing the trader Simhala and his companions. The Buddhist symbolism of Neak Pean came later during its period of rebuilding, as it was originally a Hindu temple. This is evident from a stele found at Preah Khan, which refers to the temple as a lotus rising that carries the image of the supreme god, referencing Brahma rising on a lotus from Vishnu’s navel during his cosmic sleep.
    • Source for information about the object depicted in the image: Jessup, Helen Ibbitson. Art and Architecture of Cambodia. London: Thames & Hudson, 2004. Freeman M. and C. Jacques. Ancient Angkor. London: Thames and Hudson, 1999.
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