Collection Name: Drachen Foundation Collection
Collection Number: 2275
Post Type: Book
This item was entered by Matthew Sutton. They assume full responsibility for all content.
Artist or Author: Chan Vitharin and Preap Chanmara
Creation Year: 2005
ISBN: 1-58886-076-0 Language: English Description: 'Kbach' is the general term, used in the Khmer language, to name the variety of ornaments which decorate objects and architectural surfaces throughout Cambodia. Although kbach have been studied by both scholars and artists, we have found that most of these studies primarily collect ornaments into pages of examples without presenting the thinking behind their creation and elaboration. In Cambodia today, students trying to learn kbach tend to simply copy from these examples, replicating complex ornaments without understanding the system through wich they are formed. Thus they generally do not have the ability to create new compositions of ornaments, or to use the existing ornamental language for their own purposes. Struck by this state of affairs, we began our research on kbach more than four years ago.
In this manual, we attempt to describe the system of kbach as a way of thinking form. To do so, we have relied on detailed study of all types of ornaments, considering existing scholarship, and drawing on our own training at the Royal University of Fine Arts; we have supplemented this research with extensive interviews with elderly artisits, compiling our findings into this preliminary manual.
Despite these complications, we hope that by carefully illustrating the steps through which ornaments are derived, we will enable the reader to understand a language of division which, once learned, allows for the creation of new forms within given frameworks. In addition to extensive sections of drawings, detailing and describing ways to develop various types of ornaments, we have also included sections of photographs throughout the book, offering limited examples of the diverse use of kbach on a wide variety of objects. We do not claim to exhaustively treat Khmer ornament, nor do we fully explore historical or theoretical dimensions here. Instead, we hope that this book provides a practical manual with descriptions of ornaments, explanations of their elaboration, and short surveys of their use.
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