Banteay Srei: the jewel of Khmer art
Located 20 km northeast of Angkor and almost at the foot of the mount Phnom Kulên, this temple was built in the Xth century in pink sandstone and in laterite under the reign of Jayavarman V. It is the work of certain Brahman Yajnavaraha, adviser of king Rajendravarman then guru of Jayavarman V. Besides the variety of stoneware (preferred material of the Khmers) in the warm tones of pink, the quality and the beauty of this temple are found in the exceptional delicacy of sculptures and the freshness of its sophisticated decorations. Depending on the period of sunshine, this temple changes colour through the day.
It was discovered by the French people in 1914. It became famous in 1923 when French writer André Malraux was arrested for the dissimulation of 4 apsaras. One gives to this temple a recent appelation naming » citadel of the women » in reference to the delicacy of the sculptured decorations which could have been made only by women or for its small size compared with the other temples. The restoration was made by Henri Marchal between 1931 and 1936 in a remarkable way by using the technique of the anastylose adopted by the Dutch people.