National Geographic : 1951 Apr
© National Geographic Society 467 Painting by Jean Despujols Ruined Angkor Re-creates the Dances of the Apsarases, Chorus Girls of the Hindu Deities With this painting the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE introduces a 16-page series by Jean Despujols, a French-American artist. Before war disrupted Indochina, he devoted two years to portraying its people, from civilized Cambodians, Annamese, and Laotians to unpacified mountain tribes. This Cambodian girl, who holds the sacred lotus and its seed pod (left hand), stands in Angkor, the Hindu temple-city which her ancestors, the talented Khmers. built seven to ten centuries ago (pages 468, 469, 470, 471). On its walls they carved in bas-relief the portraits of hundreds of sacred dancers. Should the performer dance in the modern Cambodian court, she would exchange her scanty wraps for heavy brocades, but, like her Angkor predecessors, she would enact India's ancient classics, the Mahabharataand Ramayana.