Early Theravadin Cambodia: Perspectives from Art and Archaeology
edited by Ashley Thompson
One of the outstanding questions of Southeast Asian history is the nature and timing of major cultural and political shifts in the territory that was to become Cambodia, starting in the 13th century. What explains the shift in religious doctrine, different language uses (Pāli over Sanskrit, Khmer as a literary language), the radical transformation in architecture and sculptural production? How was the spread of Theravāda Buddhism related to regional political reconfigurations? What exactly was it we rather blindly label ‘Theravāda Buddhism’? Do the esoteric Buddhist traditions the region still harbours relate to this transitional period? What of the exoteric at this time? And how is 'Theravāda Buddhism' entangled with the identity shifts that over the next four hundred years gave rise to the Buddhist state now called Cambodia?
Editor Ashley Thompson has brought together the foremost scholars of premodern Cambodian art and archaeology to reflect on the relevant material evidence to probe these questions - and to push them further in exploring larger issues of Buddhist history, regional exchange networks and ethno-political identities across mainland Southeast Asia. The book will be a crucial reference for historians of Southeast Asia, and its insights into religious change will make it important reading for scholars of broader Buddhist Studies. Fully illustrated in colour, the book will appeal to those with a serious interest in the Buddhism and Buddhist art of mainland Southeast Asia.
Ashley Thompson is the Hiram W. Woodward Chair in Southeast Asian Art at SOAS University of London.
Publication year: 2022
est. 288pp / 235 x 187mm
114 colour illustrations, 19 b/w illustration
Series: Art and Archaeology of Southeast Asia: Hindu-Buddhist Traditions
NUS Press (with the Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme, SOAS University of London)