Pre-Angkorian cities: Ishanapura and Mahendraparvata

by Piphal Heng & Paul Lavy

Publication: In 'Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City', eds.Theresa McCullough, Stephen A. Murphy, Pierre Baptiste, Thierry Zéphir. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum

Language : English

2018 - 11 pages

Pre-Angkor times have been extensively explored by contemporary researchers.

This study offers a summary of findings and projections from the main archaelogical sites related to pre-Angkorean civilizations (numbers refers to the map by the authors):

1. Sdok Kak Thom (inscription K.235)

2. Ak Yum (Purandarapura)

3. Angkor

4. Roluos/Bakong (Hariharalaya),

5. Phnom Kulen (Mahendraparvata)

6. Trapeang Run 1 (K.598)

7. Prasat Ampil Rolum

8. Sambor Prei Kuk (Ishanapura)

9. Thala Borivat

10. Sambor (Shambhupura)

11. Angkor Borei (Phnom Da)

12. Kdei Ang (K.53)

13. Go Thap Muoi (aka Go Thap or Prasat Pram Loveng)

14. Oc Eo.

Quoting Clifford Geertz, the authors conclude that "The early Southeast Asian city can be generally characterised as an “exemplary centre” that served political, economic, and social functions while simultaneously representing an “embodiment” of power and a model “microcosm of the supernatural order”.

About the Authors

Piphal Heng

Piphal Heng is a post-doctorate researcher at Northern Illinois University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and at University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Anthropology.

Paul Lavy

An associate professor at University of Hawaii Manoa, Paul A. Lavy received his BA in cultural anthropology and his MA and PhD in South and Southeast Asian art history. He taught ancient art history at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, and Asian and Islamic art history at Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

His ongoing research, which has been funded by the University of Hawaii Research Council, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Asian Cultural Council, and the National Security Education Program, investigates the links between art/architecture and political history in early historic Southeast Asia, primarily the Hindu-Buddhist artistic traditions associated with the Mekong Delta and Preangkorian Khmer civilization, and their relationships with the art of South Asia. He is currently researching and writing a book on early sculpture from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, The Crowned Gods of Early Southeast Asia.