Cambodia, Uncategorized

Ascend or Descend?


Here is a post from a two-and-a-bit years ago.  I’ve changed the photos in the post to show ascend. Although equally the post depicts descend. (Perhaps, the permanent damage  of national art?)



The Silver Pagoda, one of Cambodia’s most revered temples, has 642 metres of murals painted on its interior compound walls. The murals were painted in 1904-1905 and depict the Khmer version of The Ramayana  a Sanskrit epic poem.

It must once have been a fabulous sight.

But now, most of the murals have been damaged with many beyond repair. Water damage, time, and the tropical weather have done their thing, and although a restoration programme lead by Poland in 1985-1993 saved some of the paintings, the project finished before completion as the money ran out.



So there is a desperate need to restart the restoration, but still the funds aren’t there, although I believe some half-hearted efforts began and faltered.

The murals above haven’t only been damaged by water and the weather though. They have been covered with paint from imbecilic workmen carelessly using a paint spray gun.

That’s right, workers in the revered Silver Pagoda, which houses many of the Nation’s great treasures, couldn’t see the sense in covering objects of great cultural importance before spraying paint on the walls above the murals.

They couldn’t see that beneath their feet there was something that deserved great care…

It’s enough to make you weep


I haven’t been back to see if the restoration has begun again.


8 thoughts on “Ascend or Descend?

  1. That is sad . Have experienced it in first hand in my country too when old hand painted but faded and peeling murals on the temple walls were whitewashed and colour blocked with red, all of in the name of adding sparkle to the structure. One can still see its traces in places where the lime wash is coating is thin but that’s one priceless history lost.

  2. Pingback: Ascend – Rock – What's (in) the picture?

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