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Ref ID: 36734
Ref Type: Book Section in a Series
Authors: Allison, Jane P.
Title: A tale of two Khmer bronzecasting families, the Chhem and the Khat: how traditional bronzemaking revived in the area around Phnom Penh after the Khmer Rouge (1975-1979), and the expansion and modernization of that tradition in the 1990s: a preliminary report
Date: 2020
Source: EurASEAA14: papers from the Fourteenth International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists. Volume 1: ancient and living traditions
Place of Publication: Oxford
Publisher: Archaeopress
Abstract: This study focuses on the revival of traditional Khmer bronzecasting after the withdrawal of the Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh in early 1979, and ends with the fundamental changes to this earlier casting tradition which took place as Cambodia totally re-entered the global economy in the 1990s. The article forms part of an on-going project: a comparative history of bronzecasting across mainland Southeast Asia. The casting of large seated Buddha images, that is, images over one meter across the knees, a genre for which there was a large market after the widespread destruction of religious images by the Khmer Rouge, is the vehicle chosen here to follow the topic above. This article also demonstrates an effort to preserve some of the history of two important families of casters – the Chhem family, which was most instrumental to the revival itself, and the Khat family who, beginning with the older tradition of casting employed by the Chhems, adopted modern techniques to save time and effort, which replaced major practices of the older tradition. The article is the product of numerous discursive interviews and on-site studies of casting techniques employed by workshops since 1998. Significant motivation for the research was the question of how, before modern hard soldering, after casting the metal parts into which a large sculpture is cut to facilitate the casting process, these parts were securely joined to reform the complete image. Two variations of a type of mechanical attachment, apparently known almost solely to casters, were discovered to be one of the means by which the joins of two parts were stabilized.
Identifier: ISBN 9781789695052
Editors: Lewis, Helen
Volume: 1
Page Start: 81
Page End: 93
Series Editor: Lewis, Helen