នារីរបាំកម្ពុជា | សម័យចតុមុខ និងសម័យអង្គរ
by George Groslier & Phoeurng Sackona
Language : Khmer2020 - 233 pages - Hardback Ministry of Culture & Fine Arts, Phnom Penh
For more than a century, George Groslier's evocation of the dancers of Cambodia's Royal Ballet, their training, their daily routine while growing up within the walls of Phnom Penh Royal Palace, the ancestral traditions they were inspired with, the some 4,600 hand gestures (mudra in Sanskrit, kbach in Khmer) they were able to memorize and perfect, has been a reference.
H.E. Phoeurng Sackona, the Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts since 2013, offers in this richly illustrated edition the first complete Khmer translation of this concise and luminous essay.
In addition to its value for the new generations of Cambodian researchers, scholars and lovers of performing arts, this publication is also a moving acknowledgment to Groslier's apportation to the studies of Khmer culture and civilization.
The author and George Groslier's bust at Phnom Penh National Museum
About this edition:
- នារីរបាំកម្ពុជា សម័យចតុមុខ និងសម័យអង្គរ means Dancing Maidens of Cambodia, Chaktomuk period and Angkorian era, the subheader being the way "modern" and "ancient" are translated in Khmer.
- as in the English edition (DatASIA, Phnom Penh, 2011), the cover reproduces George Groslier's 1912 painting 'Danseuse dorée (Role Religieux)' (Golden Dancer, Religious Role), identifying the model as Royal Ballet dancer Ratt Poss. In 2010, Kent Davis, the editor of the English version, found out that Ratt Poss, known as Malee (Jasmine, in Khmer), later married Georges Gravelle, a French entrepreneur who had guided Groslier in his exploration of Khmer culture and civilization.
About the Authors
George Groslier (4 Feb. 1887, Phnom Penh-16 June 1945, Phnom Penh), the first child with French citizenship born in modern Cambodia, artist, novelist, historian, archaeologist, ethnologist, architect, photographer, founder and curator of the National Museum of Cambodia, was the ultimate "Cambodian scholar".
While organizing the School of Cambodian Arts (nowadays the Royal University of Fine Arts) in the 1920s, he has extensively portrayed and studied the country, its people and its traditions, in his writings, paintings and erudite communications. He founded the Phnom Penh Albert Sarraut Museum in 1919, later to become the Cambodia National Museum. Groslier's wife, Suzanne Poujade (1893-1970), was a niece of Albert Sarraut, former Governor-General of Indochina and then French Minister of the Colonies and future Prime Minister.
George Groslier died prisoner in a Japanese concentration camp when Japan -- although formerly an ally of Petain's French government -- occupied vast swaths of South East Asia. With Suzanne Poujade, he had three children, Nicole, Gilbert and Bernard-Philippe, the latter following his father's steps and becoming an eminent researcher in Cambodian archaelogy and history.
Four of his major books -- Cambodian Dancers, Ancient & Modern; In the Shadow of Angkor, Unknown Temples of Ancient Cambodia; Return to Clay, A Romance of Cambodia and Road of the Strong, A Romance of Cambodia -- have been translated into English and published by DatAsia Press.
Read here about the Rue Groslier (Groslier Street) in Phnom Penh (access to National Museum).
George Groslier portrayed in 1913 in the George Groslier portrayed in 1913 in the French journal Femina
Suzanne Poujade and two of Groslier's three children in the 1920s (EFEO)
H.E. Phoeurng Sackona, ភឿង សកុណា (8 Oct. 1959), Cambodia's Minister of Culture and Fine Arts since 2013, has launched a vast program for the preservation of cultural heritage.
At an early age, Dr. Sackona lost her parents and three siblings during the Khmer Rouge regime. Resuming her studies in the 1980's, she graduated with a MD in chemical engineering after being granted a scholarship in Russia, and later obtained a PhD in microbiology at University of Bourgogne, France. Fluent in several languages, she translated books from Russian and, in 2020, George Groslier's 1913 seminal essay on Cambodian dance from French.
After serving a a teacher, deputy director and Director General of ITC (Institute of Technology of Cambodia), Dr. Phoeurng Sackona served as Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education between 2008 and 2013, when she was appointed Minister of Culture and Fine Arts.
Minister Phoeurng Sackona with the French Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Eva Nguyen Bing at Divine Sala, Siem Reap, during an event in support of the Sacred Dancers of Angkor, Jan. 2021 (Photo: Cambodge Mag).