Krǒ̀ṅ Pãli et rites de la maison (Krǒ̀ṅ Pãli and House Building Rituals) 2nd Part
by Éveline Porée-Maspero
Publication: Anthropos, Bd. 56, H. 3./4, pp. 548-628 | Published by Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH (2nd Part)
Language : French
After describing the structural specifications for the Cambodian traditional house, the author summarizes various legends and oral traditions related to Kron Pali, the deity at the core of all building rituals in Cambodia.
Noting that Kron Pali appears in various Indic jataka, the author attempts to understand how (and why) this celestial figure, often reincarnated as a crocodile, with avatars such as the 'King of the White Monkeys" (Buddha being the King of the Black Monkeys), has come to this central place in Khmer traditions and rituals, to the point of becoming 'the totem of Cambodia'.
The author remarks that even Kron Pali's sister, Sàkomonimékhala, (from sanskrit sagara, the ocean) is relatively minor in Indian traditions, while she was and remains an important deity for Cambodian, Siamese and Burmese people.
Offerings to Kron Pali in the 1950s (photo Guy Porée).
About the Author
Daughter of sinologist Georges Maspero (her mother was Cécile Sophie Maspero nee Seyrig), grand-daughter of archeologist and explorator Gaston Maspero (1872-1942), Éveline Porée-Maspero (1906, Cholon-1991, France) was an anthropologist and researcher with EFEO and CNRS, active in Cambodia for many years. Her contribution to the post-Independence Commission des moeurs et coutumes du Cambodge remain unvaluable.
In 1938, she published, with her husband, Guy Porée, a comprehensive history of Khmer Customs with a foreword by Georges Coédès. The latter noted in his recension of the book that Eveline Porée-Maspero's emphasis on Chinese influences on Khmer culture, while opening new prospects for the theory that once existed a vast 'Mon" cultural space encompassing territories from South China down to South East Asia, was perhaps informed by her own academic background (she had studied Chinese civilization with Prof. Grenet) and the influence of her uncle Henri Maspero, another distinguished Orientalist.
Her extensive research on folk and oral traditions remains an important source for contemporary researchers, in particular her doctorate thesis on "Les rites agraires du Cambodge" (Ceremonies in Cambodian agriculture).
Photo by J. Porée-Maspero
- See a biographical notice about Guy Porée and Eveline Porée Maspero (in Khmer).
- Note: In 1983, Cambodia's historian David Chandler visited Eveline Porée-Maspero at her village house in Mormoiron, Ventoux, France, to look through her personal journals regarding the period of Cambodia's Japanese occupation in 1945.
- The house, known as 'Maison Porée', later became a Writer's Residence supervised by renowned publisher and translator François Maspero. It still hosts cultural and musical events, like in this photo from 2014: