Angkor — Naissance d’un mythe



Naissance d’un mythe

Past: October 16, 2013 → January 13, 2014

The musée national des arts asiatiques-Guimet revisits the origins of the myth of Angkor, as Europe, and particularly France, constructed it in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The exhibition shows how the Khmer heritage was rediscovered and how the monuments of Angkor were displayed to the audience of the time during spectacular Universal and Colonial Exhibitions.

From a rich corpus, some 250 pieces are shown in the exhibition: Khmer stone carvings from the tenth to the thirteenth century, plaster casts, photographs, paintings and graphic documents from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries — watercolors and inks on paper, prints, etc. — bearing witness to the first contacts between France and the art of Ancient Cambodia, around the iconic personality of Louis Delaporte (1842-1925), the major French explorer whose purpose was “to bring Khmer art into museums”. Set in the temporary exhibition rooms of the musée national des arts asiatiques-Guimet and the permanent Khmer halls, the visitor route shows, for the first time since 1927, the impressive casts crafted between the 1870s and the late 1920s.

These works, originally displayed in the galleries of the Musée indochinois du Trocadéro from 1878 to 1925, some of which are now regarded as originals, joined the collections of the musée national des arts asiatiques-Guimet and underwent a complete restoration. The exhibition allows these historical artworks to enjoy a new notoriety, revealing an important segment of artistic heritage too long ignored and neglected.

This exhibition also offers a unique opportunity to recreate the huge structures of the Khmer hall, such as the “face tower” of the Bayon Temple.

Many major loans from national and international museums will complete the presentation of works from the musée national des arts asiatiques-Guimet. From France, it is worth mentioning the musée Rodin, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musée des Années Trente in Boulogne-Billancourt. From Cambodia, major original sculptures of the Khmer cultural heritage will be generously loaned by the Kingdom’s main institutions: the National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, and the Angkor National Museum, Siem Reap.

Musée Guimet Museum
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6, place d’Iéna

75016 Paris

T. 01 56 52 53 00


Opening hours

Every day except Tuesday, 10 AM – 6 PM

Admission fee

Full rate €7,50€ — 8 — Concessions €5,50€ — 6

Free admission to exhibitions for young people under 18 years