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Cambodia Traditional arts

Cambodia Traditional arts such as silk weaving, silverwork, sculpting, ceramics, murals, basketry, and kite-making have been practiced throughout Khmer history. Stunning architecture and stone carving survives from the Angkorian period and a tradition of modern art begins in the twentieth century. Indeed, Vann Molyvann was at the forefront of what has been called “Modern Khmer Architecture” which was part of the artistic revival of the 1960s.

Because the Pol Pot regime killed artists, traditional and modern arts declined and some nearly died out. But there has been a resurgence recently thanks to helping from the government and NGOs like the Cambodia Living Arts Foundation.

Battambang, Cambodia’s second city, has developed a reputation as a hotbed for contemporary artists with several galleries displaying skillful and challenging works. It is also home to the famous circus school which has daily shows in Siem Reap and tours with international groups.

Traditional arts such as silverwork and silk-weaving have seen a resurgence thanks to the burgeoning tourist industry. There is a high demand for the Angkorian-style patterns and accuracy of Cambodian artisans. Silk Island near Phnom Penh is home to many families who specialize in creating fine silk gifts.

Many now carve traditional or modern designs and some specialize in Buddha statues.

Cambodian artists make beautiful kites. Kite-making has a long history and was revived in the 1990s. Kite-makers cleverly attach a bow to the kites that vibrates in the wind making a musical sound. Many tourists take them home as gifts for loved ones.

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