At the Musée Guimet, a new exhibition reveals the Cambodian region of Angkor, which has recently been classified as a National Heritage Site by UNESCO. The exhibition, entitled 'Angkor, the Birth of a Myth,' will run from October 16, 2013 until January 13, 2014. This means that guests staying at one of the Grands Hôtels Parisiens have a lot of time to check out this newly honored territory.
Angkor, spread out over 400 square kilometers, used to be the cultural and religious center of the Khmer civilization. Although the Khmer people represent the majority of the Cambodian population, their history is not widely known around the world. The exhibition at the Musée Guimet seeks to change that, however. In order to do this, the museum shines a spotlight on the works of Louis Delaporte.
Delaporte was one of the first French explorers to have discovered Angkor. In his travel journal, he recounts his mission in the region — a mission that lasted from 1873 to 1874. The explorer described the shock he felt when he saw the Khmer temples, and he meticulously noted all the specificities of this culture by including in his journal drawings, sketches and reproductions of the things he came across.
Another essential act of Delaporte was to ask the Khmer people to make plaster casts for him to take back to France, in order to preserve the Khmer culture. In addition to these casts, 'Angkor, the Birth of a Myth' presents stone sculptures, paintings, photographs and historical documents that give visitors a glimpse of the Cambodian art created by this population. It is the same art that Delaporte would have first come into contact with when he went to Cambodia as an explorer.
Through 250 pieces, observers can learn how Angkor monuments were presented and how the Khmer heritage was rediscovered. In addition to the Musée Guiment's own pieces, several works have also been borrowed from museums in France and abroad in order to complete this exhibition.
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