Cambodia - Arts & Crafts

The arts and craft in Cambodia owe its origin in the ancient days when god-kings established the huge monuments of Angkor. Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia famous for its art and crafts. The Cambodian arts and crafts are worth appreciating wherein weaving, carving and sculpting are given great importance. The concept of silk weaving, basket making, wood carving, silver working and stone sculpting are some of the ancient traditions of Khmer people that last till date in the region of Cambodia.

Weaving of basket is one of the popular crafts in Cambodia. The women of the Seam Reap province in Cambodia weave platters, baskets, plates and bowls from dawn to dusk mainly for export.

Yet another famed craft in Cambodia is the intricate wood carving. Every house in the village ensures that their pillars are beautifully carved with detailed designs of the moon, stars, fruits and flowers.

The villagers of Kampong Luoung, the old Royal port in Kandal Province are known for their mastery in the area of silver. Watch them crafting silver bowls, fine plates, trays, cutlery and candlesticks in different forms and shapes that are ultimately sold in the international market.

Pass through a traditional Khmer house along the warehouse building in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, which exudes an excellent impression of Cambodian handicrafts of the region. The inscriptions of mythical characters on the wall and the dancing Apsaras that are brilliantly carved are something that would surely catch your attention.

The Government of Cambodia has initiated several long-term rural development programmes for the natives wherein one can avail of an opportunity to learn the arts of their ancestors. The primeval customs of weaving, sculpting and carving have passed off from generations to generations that have ultimately enriched the culture of Cambodia.

The Bassac Crafts Center along with other organizations like Sobbhana Foundation, Lotus Pond, the School of Fine Arts Association, Tabitha, Wat Than Crafts, Khemara House, JSRC, the Women's Association of Cambodia and Krousar Thney; aim at supporting the poor families of the area by selling their handicrafts through their outlets, thereby inspiring the culture of traditional Art and Crafts in Cambodia


• Khmer Art

In the aftermath of the turbulent reign of the Khmer Rouge, many observers feared that Khmer art would be all but lost. In recent years, however, the tireless efforts of Cambodian artists, within and outside the country, have brought about a resurgence of both classical and contemporary Khmer art.

• Dancing and Music

On this site, there are several photos of both Khmer classical dance and Khmer folk dance in the photo gallery.
Elsewhere on the web, there are several sites devoted to Cambodian music and dance. For Khmer music, Angkor Khmer Music has many MP3 files of popular and classical Cambodian music.

The Cambodian Court Dance Music Page is also of interest.

For information on Khmer dance, the Cambodian Classical Dance Page is a good source of general information.

• Painting and Sculpture

Many impressive works of Khmer art can be seen in Phnom Penh's National Museum of Cambodia.

In the Oral History section of this site, you'll also find a short biography of artist Narath Tan, whose work reflects the classical styles and methods of traditional Cambodian art.

The work of artist Svay Pithoubandith, living in Siem Reap, Cambodia, similarly depicts the exacting details of classical Khmer sculpture.

Cambodian artists who have lived abroad often absorb both Asian and Western influences. The result of this synthesis can be seen in the work of Monirith Chhea and Emmanuel Nhean.

To view slide shows of each artist's work, click the links below. These are also Art of Cambodian’s Narath Tan, Svay Pithoubandith, Monirith Chhea, and Emmanuel Nhean.