Art In The Air of Central Courtyard


National Museum - garden of the inner yard

National Museum – garden of the inner yard

The National Museum of Cambodia which is located in the city center of Phnom Penh has a beautiful garden in its central courtyard. No wonder because it is the largest museum of Cambodian cultural history and the country’s leading historical and archaeological museum. No doubt it is the perfect place to know about Khmer art and culture.

I visited The National Museum on my first trip to Cambodia. Although I could not take photographs inside the Museum (read my previous post about it), I could enjoy the nice garden outside of the building. From my place I stood in its central courtyard that time, I looked at its graceful terracotta structure of traditional design. It’s totally stunning!

As a classic traditional building in Phnom Penh, the Museum building was built in early 20-century with the use of herringbone roofs and carved doors. Although the commoners are proud of its Khmer ancient temple architecture, some other people said that it is also traditional Khmer architecture with the touch of French colonial style. I felt the touch of French style in its exquisite gardens. The design is so lovely, -“so French”-, that made it the nice place to sit and reflect.

While standing there, whether I want it or not, a thought came across my mind.  A thought of what happened to the Museum during the darkest Khmer Rouge time. It’s so sad to know that more than 4 years, from 1975 to 1979,  the Museum became abandoned. Its roof became rotten and to be the home of bats, no nice garden because it’s overgrown, and the collection became in disarray, many objects were damaged and stolen. But at the end, fortunately the Museum was one of the buildings that quickly tidied up and reopened to public on mid of April 1979, just before the Khmer New Year and just months after the Khmer Rouge era has ended.

I was still amazed to the beautiful tiered traditional roofs when I saw a guy, -perhaps an artist. He’s standing in the corner and then painting the scenic view, -the same beautiful view I saw-, the Museum and its beautiful garden.

That time, digital camera was already there, but somebody chose to paint instead of taking a photograph. I just felt that art was in the air at the central courtyard of National Museum of Cambodia.

If you have a chance to go to Phnom Penh, please visit the National Museum. Enjoy the garden in the central courtyard.

This post was written in response to the weekly challenge from Celina’s Blog, Srei’s Notes, Cerita Riyanti, and also A Rhyme In My Heart, -similar to the old Weekly Photo Challenge from WordPress-, which is the 30th week of 2020 has the theme of  Courtyard, so we are encouraged ourselves to write articles weekly. If you are interested to take part in this challenge, we welcome you… and of course we will be very happy!

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