“BROKEN APSARAS”, Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Jan. 2019.
The Angkor Apsaras dancers are the Hindu – Buddhist “Heavenly Women” of the sky, carved in different styles, on the stone wall and pillars of the all Khmer temples of the classical period (1113-1150 AD.) of the ancient city of Angkor Wat, started to be built in the 1113 AD by the Khmer king Suryavaman II and completed by Jajavaman VII in 1150 AD.
Angkor Wat is a huge and complex city with many incredible temples, originally constructed as a Hindu temples dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.
The Apsaras are one of the most important decorative elements and their graceful, elegance and smiling presence create the particular atmosphere of these beautiful temples.
Their particular tight-fitting traditional dresses have a remarkable diversity of style, like their hair, headdresses, garments, stance, gilded gold jewelry also on their wrists and ankles and they are often surrounded by decorative floral motives,
In the different temples there are different styles of Apsaras, art curving and times of the splendor of this ancient city.
The hundreds of bas-reliefs, inspired by the mystical celestial female spirits and the real human singers, dancers and performers of the temples, today after 900 years, fortunately they still be present, but are very signed by the time.
The presence of the power of the Time, with its natural and human signs is not visible only in the big structures, but also in these smiling dancers of stone.
The most of them are more or less eroded, but some ones are badly broken in different parts of the body. Those ones without face or head, probably have been voluntary destroyed in times of conflict in the city.
The Angkorian Apsaras’ style and their sinuous gestures, have inspired not only the South Asia sculture, paintings, literature, but have become the Icona of the modern Khmer Classical Dance of today.
Their graceful body language and hands gestures are like an expressions code used to comunicate and narrate classical myths or stories.
From the ancient times, rituals and performances were performed only in the temples, but with a new popolar vision and expression of arts and dance, the Apsara’ Icona spread throughout Cambodia and Thailand after the Khmer Rouge regime.
Until our modern days, the ancient Angkor Apsaras still inspiring in different ways, living with the stones’ time of these stunning Khmer spiritual temples of the splendid Angkor Wat.