The Khmer temple of Ta Som, located at the eastern end of the Northern Baray at Angkor, was built at the end of the twelfth century during the reign of the powerful Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. Little is known of the history and purpose of Ta Som. It was likely dedicated to Jayavarman VII’s father, although some have speculated that it may have been dedicated to one of his teachers. The site is relatively small compared with the many other temples built under Jayavarman’s reign.
How We Helped
WMF began conservation work at Ta Som in 1998. Over the past decade, work at Ta Som has trained Khmer workers and conservators on the job and their work has made all four of the Temple’s entrances accessible to the public. Four towers have been stabilized and debris has been removed. This improved presentation of the site’s finely carved stone sculptures adds to the public’s enjoyment of the site.
Why It Matters
Today Ta Som is one of many temples that can be visited at Angkor. Both outer entrance gopuras of Ta Som are good examples of well preserved towers depicting Avalokiteshvara (the bodhisattva of compassion); with its tower structure enveloped by a large Ficus tree at the East Gopura III, it’s easy to understand how nature and buildings can be hard to separate throughout Ankor Archaeological Park. Each temple at Angkor has a different character and Ta Som’s smaller scale and beautiful sculpture ensure that visitors who seek it out will be treated to another piece of Angkor’s history and artistic treasures.