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Culture and Tradition

Traditional arts and crafts are abundant in Cambodia. The sculptures, paintings and curving are done with great care and attention. One can view such antiquities in market place, shop or museum.

The variety of arts and crafts are large in range and include such item as: silver and gold jewelry, wicker were furniture, fine hard wood furniture, silks, marble sculptures, high quality China, leather ware and much more. There is a sharp eye for detail here and much of the products will be intricately carved especially the furniture, sculptures etc.

Unfortunately, much of these works completely ceased to exist during the Khmer Rouge dictatorship. Artisans ware instead forced to work in labor camps, where most of them died painful deaths. Many arts and crafts also purposely perished during that time.

Today there has been a revival, due to a great deal of restoration work, which has been initiated by foreign governments. Now many centers have been established to keep the ancient methods of the craftwork alive. You can see examples of this throughout the country.

Arts & Handicrafts
Across the land of green rice paddies, shining blue waters, great wandering rivers and lush forests, the people of Cambodia are re-learning the arts of their ancestors.

Silk Weaving
Gem-colored silk in a brilliant array of colors are stacked floor to ceiling in shops at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. This Cambodian handicraft has been passed down from generation to generation. You can visit silk weavers in various places in Cambodia including Kandal, Prey Veng and Takeo provinces. The colors of traditional Khmer silk costumes are historically associated with the days of the week as follows:

Yellow for Monday, Purple for Tuesday, Green and Copper on Wednesday, Green for Thursday, Blue on Friday, Violet for Saturday and Red for Sunday.

Silver
The art of the Silversmith reached its height in Cambodia during the 11th century when crafted objects were used primarily by Royalty and the upper classes for ceremonial purposes including funerals and religious rituals. You will find city market stalls offering many silver items for sale including intricate fruit and animal designs as well as traditional style pieces.

Carvings
Wood carvings reflect strong spiritual beliefs with roots in animism from the pillars of a house to the elaborate motifs of the moon, stars, fruit and flowers. Houses are built with great attention given to the pillars, each having its own spirit of a woman, and roofs feature elaborate carved motifs. Miniature ¨Spirit Houses¨ are strategically placed at homes and other buildings and they are used for offerings of food, flowers and incense. Carved boxes and statues are used for ornamentation and furniture.

Stone carving is another popular art form and again you will find many vendors in the main tourist markets offering pieces for sale. There is an excellent array of reproduction pieces available.