Glories of Angkor Wat

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Glories of Angkor Wat (53:00)
Item# 40847

Abandoned by Cambodia’s Khmer rulers in the 14th century, Angkor is a sprawling expanse of medieval temples—with the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat as its crowning feature. This program takes viewers inside the structure, which, in addition to its rich historical significance, forms a fascinating record of astronomical knowledge and Hindu cosmology. Students will learn the story of Henri Mouhot, a young French naturalist who stumbled upon the ruins in 1856 and sparked an explosion of interest in them around the world. The video also examines a record of the lost civilization itself, written by a 13th-century Chinese envoy to Angkor when it was a wealthy, teeming metropolis. A National Geographic Production. (52 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (17)

1. Angkor Wat (03:12)
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Angkor sprawls across the heart of Cambodia. It's the capital of an empire that once controlled most of southeast Asia. Little is known about the Khmer people who vanished 500 years ago. 19th century explorer Henri Mouhot brought the mystery to light.

2. Cultural Imperialism (03:20)

In 19th century Europe explorers were models of courage who acted as front line troops for a surge colonialism. The manufacturing revolution and need for raw materials set off a land grab for Asia and Africa. Henri Mouhot was an explorer of the time.

3. Mouhot Begins His Journey (03:42)

Henri Mouhot set out for southeast Asia looking to open a new area to the world. He dined at Bangkok palace and was distracted by the unusual customs of the East. He eventually made it to Cambodia. His sole objective was science.

4. Closing the Cultural Divide (02:00)

In the 19th century the science of natural history was in its infancy. Studying exotic species meant shooting them. Asia's animals enchanted Mouhot, but its people bewildered him. He found a local guide who helped him explore and document.

5. Hardships of Travel and Exploration (02:58)

On his expeditions Henry Mouhot kept meticulous records of plants and animals and made charts of rivers and mountains unheard of in Europe. He was a one-man research team and in the tradition of great explorers before him, he suffered.

6. Vision of Angkor (02:35)

Henry Mouhot and his companions traveled in search of the rumored "Lost City of Angkor". He was ill prepared to discovery the city was real. He recorded the discovery with detail and precision. Natives gave magical accounts of how it was built.

7. Mystery of the "Lost City" (03:03)

Henry Mouhot sketched the most magnificent of Angkor's temples--monuments of an ancient civilization that had flourished and disappeared--and described them in detail.

8. "Discovery" of Angkor (02:13)

Though it never again reached the heights of Angkor, Khmer art flourished through Southeast Asia. Henry Mouhot did not live to see France intervene in Cambodia. He was the first person to popularize Angkor.

9. Mouhot's Journey Ends (04:15)

After traveling for 3 years Henry Mouhot had become an expert naturalist and explorer. He fell ill with fever and died at age 35. After his death His journal was published and remained in print for a full century.

10. Khmer Culture: First Hand Record (05:25)

After Henry Mouhot alerted the world to Angkor, the work of recovering its treasures began. There were no written records to explain the Khmer so many questions went unanswered until a 13th century document was uncovered.

11. Importance of Water in Angkor (03:00)

A 13th century Chinese envoy observed that the Khmer embraced Buddhism unlike Mongol culture which worshipped war above all things. As he catalogued the wonders of Angkor he noticed the city depended heavily on water.

12. Pursuit of Immortality (02:43)

A symbol of water, the snake is key to Khmer faith. Its image was depicted in ancient scenes said to reveal the secret of immortality. A Chinese envoy who heard the legend of its magic was not permitted to enter the royal palace.

13. Angkor Customs (02:42)

A 13th century Chinese envoy commented on the unusual customs of the Khmer but he also drew comparisons with Chinese culture. He praised the fact that women ran commerce throughout the city. Temple engravings depict life in Angkor.

14. Angkor's Greatest Marvel (03:48)

A Chinese envoy in the 13th century was probably barred from Angkor Wat, a temple built for a king. Based on Hindu theology some historians believe it is a funerary temple. It has come to attract the devout of many faiths.

15. Fall and Rebirth of Angkor (02:27)

Soon after Angkor Wat was completed, disaster struck when the city was attacked and burned. The Khmer capital was rebuilt as a walled city and most Khmer abandoned Hinduism and followed the Buddhist path.

16. Glory of Angkor (03:00)

A Chinese envoy arrived in Angkor when its king had undisputed control over his empire. The nation was never plundered by Mongols, maybe because of the envoy's spectacular account of the city. The Khmer capital saw its end in 1431.

17. Credits: Glories of Angkor Wat (00:30)

Credits: Glories of Angkor Wat

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