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Title: Faces of Cambodia : Buddhism(s), portraiture and images of kings
Author: Wolfarth, Joanna Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 4659
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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In the late twelfth-century the face dominated the visual landscape of the Angkor Empire, appearing at the Mahāyānist Bayon temple in the form of monumental ‘face towers’, a distinctive architectural-cum-sculptural feature of the reign of Jayavarman VII, the first Buddhist king of Cambodia. Together with statues apparently sculpted as a physical likeness of the king, this artistic output probed the conceptual contours of the face and the scope of portraiture. Since the twelfth century the face, primarily in a four-faced configuration, has continued as a uniquely Cambodian trope, cited and revived in changing politico-cultural contexts. The monumental visages of Angkor have been the subject of a wealth of scholarship over the last century and a half, yet there has been a lack of consideration of the Cambodian faces as faces from a phenomenological perspective. Neither has there been a thorough interrogation of the precise mechanisms by which the faces ‘reappeared’ in twentieth-century Cambodia. Therefore, this thesis addresses questions of the face and portraiture within a multi-layered Buddhist-Brahmānic complex, in order to counter hegemonies which persist in art historical scholarship on the Bayon. This examination of the face is primarily formulated on three levels of interrogation: the face as portrait, the face as the locus of personhood or subjectivity, and historiographies associated with the face. Due to the subsequent, and indeed on-going, appropriation of the Bayon faces, the final chapters give critical emphasis to the face of the king in the contemporary visual landscape of Cambodia.
Supervisor: Thompson, Ashley ; Karkov, Catherine Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available