The National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s largest museum of cultural history and is the country’s leading historical and archaeological museum.
The National Museum of Cambodia is located just north of the Royal Palace, the National Museum of Cambodia is housed in a graceful terracotta structure of traditional design (built from 1917 to 1920). The museum is home to the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculpture – a millennium’s worth and more of masterful Khmer design. The museum comprises four pavilions, facing a pretty garden. Most visitors start left and continue in a clockwise, chronological direction.
The National Museum of Phnom Penh, inaugurated in 1920, has the responsibility to preserve and exhibit these treasures to the public. Its collections can be divided into four main categories: stone, metal, wood and ceramics. Despite damage, the works still possess important values relating to art, history and religion.
The most representative objects in each category, described below, reveal both Khmer identity and style. The study of these masterpieces shows that Khmer artisans did not just copy Indian art (in spite of the influence of Indian civilization) but created a completely original art with its own character.
The main activities of the National Museum of Cambodia include exhibiting, safeguarding and promoting understanding of Cambodia’s cultural and artistic treasures. Keeping objects safe and working to ensure the repatriation of pieces stolen from Cambodia are important aspects of the museum’s works, particularly as looting and illicit export of cultural material is a continuing concern.
During the years of Khmer Rouge control the Museum, along with the rest of Phnom Penh, was evacuated and abandoned. The Museum suffered from neglect during this time and after the liberation of Phnom Penh on 7 January 1979 it was found in disrepair, its roof rotten, collection in disarray and garden overgrown. The Museum was quickly tidied up and reopened to the public on 13 April 1979.
– Address: Street 13, Sangkat Chey Chumneas, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
– Opening hours are from 8.00am until 5.00pm daily.
– Tel/fax: +855 0(23) 211 753
– Website: http://www.cambodiamuseum.info/
Phong Dzang (collecting) – IndochinaKings