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Roveda, Vittorio (1999) Narrative Reliefs From the SW and NW Corner Pavilions of Angkor Wat. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study examines the religious and social meaning of the reliefs from the western corner pavilions of the temple of Angkor Wat (12th century AD.). It investigates how visual narrative was articulated by the Khmer, and how the reliefs contributed to the sacredness of the temple and the consolidation Suryavarman II's kingship. In Part I (Chapterl), after a brief introduction on the political and religious status of Cambodia at the time of Suryavarman II, the Indian texts to which the stories of the reliefs refer are extensively discussed. After a critical analysis of the literature available on the reliefs of the corner pavilion, a detailed examination of the reliefs of the south-western and north-western pavilions is then presented in order to establish the base for their interpretation. For a better understanding it was essential to study, even if briefly, narrative reliefs from other sites of the temple. Part II (Chapter 1) deals with the use of semiotics, seeking a level of meaning of the reliefs underlying that revealed by iconography. Semiotics provides the possibility of an analytical practice, of describing and explaining the process and structures through which meanings are constituted. This is followed by an investigation into narration's techniques used by the Khmer in depicting events in the reliefs. Chapter 2 includes my attempt to interpret the narrative, the analysis of the arrangement and selection of the themes, and their narrative program. It results that narrative elements were fundamental components of a sacred discourse. Finally, in Chapter 3, the conclusions of the study are summarised. The reliefs are symbolic of the temporal power of the king, and affirm his right to rule the Khmer in intimate association with the divine. Moreover, they were used for creating the image of a sacred universal meaning, a visual representation of Khmer metaphysics. They were the visual manifestation of devotion to Vishnu. To Part III belong all the maps, tables and illustrations supporting the text of the thesis.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:37

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