Cambodia Banknote Depicts Bayon Statue

27 May 2022  Fri

The Bayon is a richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th or early 13th century as the state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and smiling stone faces. This amazing piece of architecture has been depicted on a banknote of the country.

The banknote was issued in the year 1972 with the denomination of 100 Riels. The banknote depicts the face of Bodhisattva Lokesvara along with the signature of the authorities. The reverse depicts a scene from the Water Festival. The watermark is the Bayon stone face of Bodhisattva Lokesvara in Angkor Thom.

According to Angkor-scholar Maurice Glaize, the Bayon appears "as but a muddle of stones, a sort of moving chaos assaulting the sky." From the vantage point of the temple's upper terrace, one is struck by "the serenity of the stone faces" occupying many towers.

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