Friday, June 17, 2011

Following Henri Mouhot, A Frenchman in Southeast Asia in the Early 19th Century

At the BACC I purchased an E-book, the historic journal of missionary Henri Mouhot, so called re-discoverer of Angkor Wat among other remarkable accomplishments. Literature and images document his travels in "Le Tour Du Monde nouveau journal des voyages. Voyage dans les Royaumes de Siam, de Cambodge, de Laos et autres parties centrales de L'Indo-Chine" published in 1863. As I made trips north to Laos and east to Cambodia in recent months, the art history of the region came alive for me. For this entry, I've reproduced a few Siamese portraits from his journey, interesting historical documents of dress and, well, hairstyles!
Mouhot was laid to rest in Luang Prabang, a beautiful small town in Laos along the mighty Mekong River. Mouhot sounds like mohot, the name given to an elephant trainer. You can visit the site via elephant if you choose, the former's preferred mode of transportation forging through the jungles of Southeast Asia. Baguettes and pastry shops in the town are some remnants of early French influence. More photos from my own journey from Laos and Cambodia to come. Enjoy!