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The museum’s Bronze Gallery contains bronzes dating from the 7th to 20th century.
Besides the objects which were made in veneration of religious divinities, the other types of bronzes on display can be divided into two categories: ritual objects and secular goods.
Several prehistoric sites are known in Cambodia (inc.
Samrong Sen, Anlong Phdao, Melou Prei, and Laang Spean).
These include ornate hooks for palanquins, gilded rings from the handles of parasols, fans, and military or official seals.
Angkor Borei, today a small town in the Mekong Delta region, was a major city-centre within what is thought to have been the first large-scale centralised Khmer state (c.1st-6th century; often called ‘Funan’ as it was denoted in Chinese annals of the period).Ancient stone, bronze tools and weapons, enigmatic bronze drums similar to those found at the Dong Son site in Vietnam (thought to be used in rain and war ceremonies), and ancient ceramics have been found and documented.Current archaeological research into Cambodia’s extensive prehistory will no doubt provide better insight into the lives of the people who made these objects, and give us a more concrete time-frame for their dates of manufacture.Whatever the case, bronze-casting had become a major industry throughout mainland Southeast Asia by 500 CE - at which time bronze was used to make a wide range of tools, weapons, ritual objects and ornaments.After Indian political and religious ideas began permeating Cambodia (around the time of Christ), a tradition of casting bronze Hindu and Buddhist divinities emerged.
Decorating pottery with animal forms was a popular style from the 11th to 13th century.