The stone carving skill of the ancient Khmer was basically inherited from the Indian civilization, however, it was later evolved into its own unique Khmer style. The Khmer sculptures were carved from stone with great craftsmanship and many of them represent the Hindu deities such as Shiva, Vishnu, Brahmans, the elephant god Ganesha and many other gods and goddesses, as well as Hindu mythical monsters such as the serpent naga, the demon kala, the giant makara, and the mythical lions. Some large sculptures even portray the epics of the Hindu myths such as Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Khmer Sculpture is a part of Cambodian culture
In later centuries, the Buddha statues appeared and enshrined in many temples. The most astounding Buddha statues are found in Angkor Thom (Bayon) where the magnificent statues of four-faced Bodhisattava Avalokiteshvara, the lord Buddha, were sculptured on fifty towers.
Although each sculpture bears the common characteristics of the supernatural being it represents as described in the epics or myths, its details reveal the personal imagination of its sculptor. The good examples can be seen in the 2000 sculptures of Apsara in Angkor Wat; the Apsara are the female devatas (angels), and each Apsara was beautifully carved with her own supple posture, personal decorations and unique ornaments.
In addition, some sculptures depict the important events such as the war against its foreign invaders while some reveal the everyday life of the Khmer people such as the relief carvings of Angkor Thom.