"Devatas of the Shadows": the goddesses of Preah Khan
Preah Khan (ប្រាសាទព្រះខ័ន, meaning "Royal Sword") is the temple built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII to honor his father. Located northeast of Angkor Thom and west of the Jayatataka baray, the temple was an important place of worship, with close to 100,000 officials and servants. Successive rectangular galleries are organized around a Buddhist sanctuary, with several Hindu satellite temples and numerous later additions around.
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About the Author
Kent Davis is a publisher, editor, author, translator (English, Thai, French), independent researcher and literary archaeologist.
Since founding DatAsia Press with his wife Sophaphan in 2005, they have worked publishing a series of reference books relating the history, art and culture of Southeast Asia, from ancient times to the mid-20th century. DatAsia editions include important academic analysis, expanded restorations of rare accounts that have gone out of print, and English translations of French colonial literature.
In 2008, Davis began working with George Groslier’s daughter Nicole, reviving her father’s works and memories of his contributions to Cambodia. DatAsia Press now offers modern English and French editions of two Groslier novels, two travelogues, and his original 1912 study of Cambodian dance. (See his recent interview with Khmer Times on that topic here.)
During the last decade, Kent Davis has focused on documenting the devata (goddess) and apsara images at Angkor Wat to determine the historical roles of Khmer women. Many of his photosets are now available on AngkorDatabase with additional articles at Devata.org.
In 2007, he and his wife funded the construction of the Srei Devata Middle School in Baray, Kompong Thom, Cambodia, through American Assistance for Cambodia.