Cambodian Wooden Houses: 1,500 Years of Khmer Heritage by Darryl Collins and Hok Sokol
Cambodia emerged as a hybrid Hindu state in the Mekong Delta during the 6th century. Three centuries earlier, a Chinese visitor recorded that 'local people lived in stilt houses covered in thatch, cultivated rice and sent tributes of gold, silver, ivory and exotic animals to the Imperial court'. These early wooden dwellings were typically located on network of canals connecting sea and land routes used by Indian traders in the ancient kingdom, which the Chinese referred to as Funan.
In the 21st century, most Cambodians reside in the rural areas. These proud farming communities live in villages of wooden thatched houses, growing rice or produce for both export markets. This unbroken tradition of domestic and functional, rather than public buildings - has started to disappear, along with Khmer carpentry skills. The finest examples of these houses are increasingly neglected despite being an important part of Cambodia's vernacular architectural heritage.
Chapters 1-9 follow a chronological sequence - linking the history of Cambodia to that of wooden houses, then to architectural drawings and the finer points of wooden house construction The house styles provide guides to more recent history, materials, woods, decorations and furnishings. Through instructive maps, surveys, extensive use of historic black and white and many colour images, both the text and pictures provide confirmation of Khmer rituals, beliefs and traditions as related to wooden houses.
From the sixties and early seventies, researchers wrote about Cambodian wooden houses and began to classify them by style, but no monograph was ever published. Years of turmoil followed and we wish to redress this following a period of research and relocation. Both co-authors now reside in Siem Reap.
The resulting volume is one that can stand in the company of books from other Southeast Asian nations as a study in unbroken heritage spanning some 1,500 years. We are proud to present this book as a tribute to the enduring qualities of wood used in housing construction and the craftsmen who build in this medium. This book is dedicated to them.
24.5 x 28cm, 278 pages, fully illustrated, Hardcover, March 2022.
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