Saturday, July 08, 2006

Vittorio Roveda - a man of myths & legends

I met author and renowned Angkor scholar Vittorio Roveda (on the right in the photo above; I'm on the left) in Siem Reap in January, and he very graciously gave me a copy of his latest publication, Images of the Gods, an encyclopedic tome, surveying the motifs and messages recorded in the Khmer temples across Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. It has over 2,400 colour images and is meticulous in defining the sculptural reliefs of the Hindu and Buddhist myths and legends. It's a precious gift to a self-styled temple-hunter like myself, as it helps me understand in precise detail the visual art I encounter on my expeditions into the Cambodian countryside. Vittorio, already author of important books like Khmer Mythology, Sacred Angkor and Preah Vihear, is currently collaborating with Dawn Rooney on a comprehensive guide to the temples of Cambodia, that'll cover both Angkor and beyond, a book that all temple-nuts like me have been waiting a long time for.

Vittorio has had a multi-faceted career. He gained his first doctorate in geology before switching interests in the 1980s to studying Asian art history. He obtained his second doctorate on the carved reliefs of Angkor Wat six year ago. A former teacher of Asian art history at the University of Singapore, he spends several months each year in Cambodia and also lives in London. To obtain a copy of his incredible new book, Images of the Gods, click on:

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