Les Artisans d'Angkor in Siem Reap
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A visit to Artisans d’Angkor is a must to get a deep insight into the remarkable skilled workmanship of traditional handicrafts in Cambodia.
It was established in 1998 as a subsidiary of the Chantiers-Écoles de formation professionnelle – a professional training school sponsored by the National Cambodian Institution, the European Union and the French Foreign Ministry to impart free vocational training in traditional Angkorian art forms to the country’s illiterate young people between the ages of 18 and 25.
Founded as a three-year project, Artisans d’Angkor later became a limited company and is now an independent institution providing employment to over 1,000 dedicated craftsmen in the region while nurturing Khmer arts and crafts.
Through its network of 13 workshops spread across more than 10 villages in Siem Reap province, Artisans d’Angkor recruits 50 to 60 young apprentices from rural areas and trains them to gain authentic knowledge on Cambodian handicrafts as well as secure a sustainable career in their home villages.
Les Artisans d'Angkor
Artisans d’Angkor enjoys international recognition for the upscale artifacts that are the outcome of constant research, genuine materials and perfect colour as well as texture choices. Its workshops and boutiques serve as a platform to procure authentic information on traditional Khmer techniques deployed for lacquering and gilding, wood and stone carving and silk painting. For instance, stone carving is done here with sandstone that has been used by artisans since centuries to carve out stunning stone sculptures. Likewise, wood is carefully chosen to ensure that the end product will take after woodworks seen in ancient structures and pagoda embellishments.
For silk paintings that depict the religious beliefs and poetic implications, the artisans d’Angkor uses special kind of colours made using natural pigments. Upon applying this colour on the motif and finishing it with a paintbrush as well as India ink, a gloss whose key ingredient is a natural wax is applied on it to provide an appearance that is akin to murals found in prehistoric temples. Additionally, a specialty of these paintings is that they are primarily created by young deaf women who are part of the NGO Krousar Thmey – an organization that is committed to render assistance to deprived children in Cambodia.
Special attention and care is also given to develop such arts and craft items as bronze wares, traditional silver boxes, animal-shaped boxes, silver jewelry and silver boxes. Above all, don’t miss a visit to Angkor Silk Farm located about 12km west of Siem Reap to get a glimpse of the interesting procedures involved in the weaving of golden silk.
In addition to a main on-site boutique, Artisans d’Angkor also runs three duty-free boutiques within the premises of Siem Reap International Airport, Phnom Penh International Airport and Hong Kong Airport. Adjacent to Angkor Wat is another of its boutiques – Angkor Café, an air-conditioned facility carrying a selection of Khmer art and artifacts.
Good to Know about Les Artisans d'Angkor
Situated on the Thmey Street in Siem Reap, Artisans d’Angkor is close to the much famed Angkor Wat and Old Market. Entry to this craft school is free, and the services of English, French, Khmer, Japanese, Chinese, German and Thai guides are available from 07.30 to 17.30. Free tours are organized from Artisans d’Angkor to visit Angkor Silk Farm as well as its workshops.
- Location: Chantiers-Écoles, Stung Thmey Street, P.O Box 47, Siem-Reap
- Tel: +85 5639 63330