Looking Both Ways

One of the many "face sculptures" found at Bayon, Ankor Thom, Cambodia.

 

Built in the 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman's capital, Angkor Thom.

The Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. The temple is home also to two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which depict an unusual combination of mythological, historical and mundane events. The main current conservatory body, the JSA, has described the temple as "the most striking expression of the 'baroque' style" of Khmer architecture, in contrast with the classical style of Angkor Wat.[Unlike Angkor Wat, which impresses with the grand scale of its architecture and open spaces, the Bayon "gives the impression of being compressed within a frame which is too tight for it

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Taken on May 18, 2007