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1.18.2012

[ CEREMONIAL SPARKLE ] Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Ankor Wat Ceremonial dress, Cambodian costume, theatre, South East Asian clothing, 
I came across these elaborately adorned Khmer dancers a couple of weeks ago when I was lucky enough to visit the often labeled 'Eighth Wonder of the World': Cambodia's Ankor Wat. Rather than dancing, they stood around for about 5 minutes looking bored out of their minds before heading off out of the complex but, nevertheless, I thought their magnificent costumes worthy of a few snaps. 

Ankor Wat dancers, Cambodia, Siem ReapThe two female dancers in the middle are wearing variations of the Sampot, the primary garment of Cambodia's national dress (pretty much a glorified sarong) which originated in the Funan era when the Kymer King ordered his people to wear the Sampot at the behest of the Chinese envoys. Made from the finest quality Cambodian silk and traditionally embellished with woven or dyed floral, animal or geometrical motifs sewn with gold and silver thread, the Sampot, as worn by the two female characters in the centre, is wrapped around the waist, pleated at the front and then secured with a gold or brass belt.  

Ankor Wat, Cambodia, ethnic style, traditional culture, wandering places
Check out the ornate headdresses, apparently you can depict each character by just looking at their headwear and the colour of their costumes (usually red, yellow, blue, green and black). For example, the two central characters are female due to the fresh flower tassels adorning their headdresses. The character in red is evidently playing an animal character as depicted by the design of her masked headwear and the girl in yellow is likely a royal character as the silk comes from a worm indigenous to Cambodia whose 'fuzzy' silk gives the finished product a shimmering quality.

embroidered dress, Cambodia, Ankor Wat


If you're interested in traditional dress around the world, check out some of my other posts on Kathakali, Wayang Golek, Indra Jantra, Dhaka Topi, Turbans, and Rajasthani Gypsies.

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