Banteay Kdei

At this Mahayana Buddhist monastic complex at least two different styles are evident, relating to Angkor Vat and Bayon styles. Various sanctuary towers were also apparently joined only after their construction by a system of galleries and vestibules that exploit the use of the cloister. Changes and additions to the design following the original construction result in the sometimes confused and unbalanced present-day layout.


Terrace with naga and garuda-balustrades

The ensemble is on a single level and consists, within two successive enclosure walls, of two concentric galleries from which emerge towers, preceded to the east by a cloister. This temple is similar in design and architecture to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, although smaller and less complex.

There is no information concerning the exact dedication of this temple, and a 10th century inscription found in the western gopura of the second enclosure has been noted to have been sculpted on re-used stones possibly from the neighbouring temple of Kutisvara.

The east gopura entrance in the outer laterite enclosure (as are the other axial entrances) is surmounted by smiling Lokesvara visages similar to those at Ta Prohm, and the doorway flanked by garudas in each corner. The large Buddhist cruciform terrace immediately in front of the temple is slightly raised and decorated with naga and garuda-balustrades and lions that are in the Bayon style.

As at Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, there is a vast rectangular hall that perhaps served as a space for ritual dance. The square columns, like those at the entrances to the Bayon, are decorated with paired or single dancing apsara sculpted in low-relief. Bas-relief dvarapala flank the entrances, surrounded by devata. The central sanctuary, which still carries some traces of sculpture, was probably rough-cut in order to receive a metal facing.

The gopura of the third enclosure is cruciform in plan, has internal columns and is covered by vaults. In the internal courtyard and walls of porches are Buddha images defaced in the period following Jayavarman VII's reign. The vaults of these outer galleries, constructed in both laterite and sandstone, has in places, collapsed. Access from the rear of this complex leads to the eastern entrance of Ta Prohm temple.

In 2001, a team from the University of Sophia (Japan) uncovered 274 fragment pieces of Buddhist sculpture while pursuing a research excavation in Banteay Kdei. Most of the excavated statues are sculpted from sandstone and these were found together with a small number of metal artifacts.


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