Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Temples of Angkor

Anita and I checked out the M.C. Escher exhibit at the Glenbow Museum this weekend, which was super cool. Looking at his work (prints of impossible staircases and structures, and repeating design elements that merge and form from one another) is a bit disorienting, and you may feel like you've smoked a bowl or two afterwards. It's pretty awesome.

While we were there, we also checked out an exhibit on Asian sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist deities. The sculptures are so detailed and richly carved, depicting fantastical scenes of gods fishing, gods killing gods, gods getting their girlfriends seduced by others while they're out meditating, gods turning into snake demon Super-saiyans (I may be making that last one up)... This brought back memories of our 4 days in Siem Reap,where we toured through numerous temples in the Angkor area while listening to interpretations of the bas reliefs and sculpted motifs depicted throughout the temples. If you ever get the chance to visit Cambodia, these temples are a MUST see. Enjoy this selection of some of the lesser known ones in the sprawling complex of Angkor.

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Temples of Angkor

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Hindu Triad
Ganesha, son of Shiva. He has an elephant head because Shiva accidentally chopped off his normal head before realizing Ganesha was his son. He then resurrected him by installing the head of the nearest creature at the time. Did Guillermo Del Toro write this, cause that's about how much sense it makes...

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Shiva (Hindu God of Destruction), holding the severed head of Brahma (Hindu God of Creation). Moral: being the good guy sucks.

Hindu Triad-2
Vishnu and his companion, Lakshmi. Vishnu somehow eventually transforms into Shiva (queue the Michael Bay era Transformers sound). Don't ask, the deity family tree is confusing to me too. And we had four days with a guide repeatedly explaining these legends to us.

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