Wondrous Angkor

by Deane H. Dickason

A quite insightful guidebook of Angkor temples aimed at affluent English-speaking tourists in the 1930s.

Dickason cover

Type: hardback

Publisher: Kelly & Walsh Ltd., Shanghai.

Edition: First edition

Published: 1937

Author: Deane H. Dickason

Pages: 147

Language : English

ADB Library Catalog ID: TRA37

As the director and narrator of an iconic film, 'Jungle Bound': Angkor, Cambodia in 1936, Deane Dickason found enough time to pen this insightful guidebook of Angkor. The well-documented description opens on a "Fair Warning": "Heavy fines are imposed for defacing an Angkor monument or for removing any portion thereof", with an elaboration by then curator of Angkor Henri Marchal. This warning shows the extent of random looting of Khmer artefacts by tourists.

Following a detailed historical and cultural introduction, and notices on major temples, two circuits are suggested, slightly different from the traditional "Grand circuit" and "Petit circuit" traditionally promoted by French curators of Angkor, both starting from the 'Veal', the esplanade at the foot of Angkor Thom Royal Palace terraces: 1) The Grand Circuit (p 118 sq), including North Gate, Preah Khan, Neak Pean, Ta Som, East Mebon, Pre Rup, back to Angkor Wat (total 16.25 miles), and 2) The Minor Circuit (p 131 sq), including Victory Gate, Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, back to Angkor Wat "and ending at Bungalow des Ruines." (total 11.25 miles).

Various map plans in the guidebook: Preah Khan | Angkor Thom Royal Palace | General Map | Angkor Wat (with Bungalow des Ruines clearly located).

62 original photographs complement the text, uncredited yet probably taken by the author himself. See a selection. 

Tags: guidebooks, tourism, looted art, American travelers, 1930s

About the Author

Deane Dickasonandwife Sarah

Deane H. Dickason

Deane H. Dickason (23 June 1898, Granada, Colorado, USA - 12 Nov 1953, Hong Kong, China) was a movie producer, director and actor, known for Castilian Memories: Manila (1934), the hugely controversial Virgins of Bali (1932), In Maori Land (1936) and Down Singapore Way (1946).

Starring Balinese teenage girls Ni Wayan Tagai and Ni Wayan Ubamgo, Virgins of Bali - labeled as a "Love Lyrical Adventure on the Island of Bali - has been deemed as 'quasi pornographic' and 'an early sexploitation film'. At that same time, Charlie Chaplin filmed bare-breasted girls in Bali. The vogue for "exoticized, eroticized" Balinese dances in the 1930s was part of what triggered anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson to spend two years in the island.

Married to Sarah Crawford Rorer (1907-1986) and then to Mary Monica Walsh (1910-1993), Dickason was an avid traveler. He filmed and narrated 'Jungle Bound': Angkor, Cambodia in 1936, and published a smart guidebook, Wondrous Angkor, the following year.

With first wife Sarah.
Poster of The Virgins of Bali, 1932.