George Coedes, Angkor

“What makes the Coedes Collection unique is the man who assembled it : a French academic wedded to his field. As Dr Loofs-Wissowa remarks ‘Coedes was an amazing man’. His particular genius was that he penetrated the data, and wrote about the people, the history, the culture and above all, the ideas. Gathered over a lifetime, the collection traces Coedes’ research. Indeed there is little in the collection that cannot be directly traced in some way to his academic interests. Grammars, ancient monuments, classical languages. all these are fields of rarefied knowledge, of specialist expertise. Interestingly, only a couple of French novels have infiltrated the collection.

Coedes was heir to the great enthusiasm for studying the ‘Extreme-Orient’ that developed in France in the late nineteenth century, and culminated in the foundation of L’Ecole francaise d’Extreme Orient in 1900. Coedes bestrode the field of Southeast Asian study for over half a century. His great legacy to scholars is his documentation of the cultural influence of India in most parts of Southeast Asia. That influence brought Hindu and Buddhist religious ideas, the Indian concept of kingship, the use of Sanskrit as an official and ceremonial language, as well as Indian artistic traditions to the peoples of Southeast.”

The Indianized States of Southeast Asia (Textbook Binding)
–George Coedes,


editing: After visit to Angkor (& the context of greater indo-china, mekong)
Much of the impressions that George Coedes had regards the area in general, as culturally “rooted” for India (& the overpowering proximity of China) is very true. Angkor and Cambodia itself has far more deeper cultural umblical cord to India. The temples are steeped in Indian mythology. And sometimes even able to “play” with it as an artist or immigrant to a culture would (as opposed to someone belonging.) But even the play is of the highest calibre: Sculpture work within Bantereay Srei are some of the best artwork based on Indian Mythology.
George Coedes’ intuition and ability to penetrate the enormity: Yes, Angkor is *huge* city even by modern standards for sprawl. is simply applaudable!

Another interesting author with focus on the stories behind Angkor is Vittorio Raveda. I should do a post entirely on him soon.


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