Prasat Kravan--page 1 (of two pages)

early 10th century (consecrated 921); restored in 1960s

Sources vary in noting which Kymer king sponsored the building of these aligned five brick sanctuaries; one says Harshavarman I (Freeman and Jacques), another Isanavarman II (Laur). The modern name means Cardamom Sanctuary, after a tree that once stood at this site. The structure is dedicated to Vishnu. Although the complex is small, the exterior brick masonry is beautiful and the interior brick reliefs are unique in Kymer art. (See page 2.)

View of the back side (west)

Today only the central and south towers still have their superstructure. The receding tiers are an effective device to give a greater illusion of height--the false perspective makes them seem taller.

Striking brick work

The sanctuaries are only open to the east but false doors or empty niches and shallow pilasters with elaborate plinths provide shadows and variety in the planar surfaces. Courses of narrow brick are joined, not with mortar, but with a vegetable compound.

East side--front

The five sanctuaries are in a north-south row, facing east. All are on the same platform. Five stairways opposite each tower lead to the entrances.

View of eastern side;
guardian lions


Central tower; flanking door--guardian dvarapalas in niches

The lintels and colonettes surrounding the portals are sculpted in sandstone. The guardian figures are more than 2 metres tall. The right-hand side figure represents the "good" principle.

A platform for performances? / foundation of gopura?

Go to page 2 for details and interiors.

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© 2004 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

Page created by Mary Ann Sullivan