Traditional Handicrafts are offering employment to skilled communities as well as quality and tradition to discerning tourists in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Traditional Handicrafts in Siem Reap, Cambodi Cambodia flourished in Angkorian times when the finest objects crafted for temples and the Royal Court. Handed down through generations, the skills of Cambodian artisans fulfilled domestic and religious needs for centuries until the dark yours of the Khmer Rouge, when production came to a standstill.
Today, from stone or wood carving to silver and basket work, traditional handicrafts enthused by a growing tourist market, are recovering very well. Cambodian silk pieces are sought by collectors worldwide.
Seim Reap and Takeo are important weaving centers although silk is widely available at all tourist spots. There’s a good selection at the Russian Market in Phnom Penh where popular items include Kmer scarves, sarongs and soft furnishings await their new owners.
Cambodian silk is named according to the type of fabric and its use, pa moung for evening dress, hol for going to the temple, pidan for hanging, etc.
The stone carving tradition of Angkor continues until today; artists are reproducing ancient pieces to satisfy tourists. While original Angkor Stones from Phnom Kulen are reserved for temple restoration, there are ample supplies of sandstone in Banteay Meanchey for other requirements. Buddha statues, Apsara dancers, and bas-reliefs are all popular tourist collector items, but the top of the list are replica busts of Jayavarman VII, founder of Angkor Thom.
Cambodian wood carving has its origins in ancient animist beliefs. Village homes have finely carved with flowers, moon or stars, to enlist protection. Objects for domestic use range from furniture to kitchen utensils, while carved boxes and ornaments of all kinds are produced for the tourist trade.