Shiva Statue - Antique Banteay Srei Style Khmer Stone Shiva Statue Head - Destroyer - 31cm/12"

The Banteay Srei Period: A Gem of Khmer Artistry


The Banteay Srei period in Khmer history is a distinct and captivating chapter characterized by the construction of the Banteay Srei temple, a jewel of Khmer art and architecture. Nestled within the Angkor region of Cambodia, this period is renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship, intricate carvings, and the enduring influence of Hinduism on the Khmer civilization. Banteay Srei, often referred to as the "Citadel of Women," stands as a testament to the artistic brilliance of the Khmer people during this era.

Historical Context

The Banteay Srei period is generally dated to the late 10th century, specifically during the reign of Rajendravarman II and Jayavarman V in the Khmer Empire. It falls within the broader timeline of the Angkor era, a period of significant cultural and architectural achievements.

Banteay Srei Temple

Banteay Srei, located about 25 kilometers north of the Angkor complex, is a small but exquisite temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. What distinguishes Banteay Srei from other Khmer temples is its remarkable scale, ornate detailing, and the quality of its pink sandstone carvings. These intricate carvings are so fine that it is often said that only the hands of women could have been delicate enough to create them, hence the temple's nickname, the "Citadel of Women."

Stone Banteay Srei

Artistic Brilliance

The key feature that sets the Banteay Srei period apart is the unparalleled craftsmanship evident in the temple's architecture and carvings. The intricate and detailed bas-reliefs showcase a level of artistry that was unprecedented in Khmer architecture. These carvings depict scenes from Hindu mythology, epics, and daily life, offering valuable insights into the cultural and religious life of the period.

One of the most famous carvings at Banteay Srei is the portrayal of the divine dancer Apsara, known for its grace and elegance. The intricate floral motifs, divine beings, and meticulously carved devatas (divine female figures) further exemplify the temple's exceptional artistry.

Religious Significance

As with many Khmer temples, Banteay Srei is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The temple's elaborate carvings and inscriptions serve not only as artistic expressions but also as religious depictions that reinforce the significance of Hinduism in Khmer society during this period.

The temple's architecture, in the form of sanctuaries and libraries, mirrors the cosmological and religious beliefs of the time. Banteay Srei's role in the religious and spiritual life of the Khmer Empire is evident in the painstaking detail and devotion with which it was constructed.


The Banteay Srei period represents a remarkable era in Khmer history, celebrated for its outstanding artistic contributions. The Banteay Srei temple, with its stunning pink sandstone carvings and intricate bas-reliefs, serves as a testament to the artistic genius of the Khmer people during this period. Beyond its artistic significance, the temple also sheds light on the religious and cultural life of the Khmer civilization, highlighting the enduring influence of Hinduism in the region.

Banteay Srei's enduring appeal lies in its ability to transport visitors through time, offering a glimpse into the aesthetics and beliefs of the Khmer people during the Banteay Srei period. As a unique and exceptional gem of Khmer artistry, it continues to captivate and inspire those who have the privilege to explore its intricacies and the legacy of this remarkable historical period.

Bronze Banteay Srei