Accepted paper:

Koh Ker inscriptions: what they say, what they don't say


Claude Jacques

Paper short abstract:

Koh Ker is a site where a number of Inscriptions have been discovered long time ago. Generally showing only long lists of names of men and women, considered as uninteresting, they have been forgotten after the first conclusions. In fact, it might be useful to reconsider them.

Paper long abstract:

A great number of inscriptions have been discovered on the Koh Ker site, from the very beginning of Khmer studies. Written in Sanskrit or in Khmer, they are engraved in a comparatively small number of monuments (9 only). These inscriptions are often in a poor or even a very poor condition, so that some conclusions that have been drawn from them were naturally flimsy. Though no better reading has been found since their last edition, it might be useful to carefully reconsider these texts. The main Sanskrit text, K 184, appears as more disappointing than thought before. Yet we may find in the Khmer texts some elements useful to revise opinions on the famous Devarāja. About king Jayavarman IV, we know that the charge of "usurper" that had been made by George Cœdès might be moderated from inscriptions coming from other sites than Koh Ker. On the other hand, the Khmer inscriptions show generally very long and tedious lists of men and women, considered as "slaves". We have at least to question this opinion. Finally we may say also that inscriptions help archaeology to consider that the life of the Koh Ker site was much longer than told.

panel P29
Koh Ker, an early capital of the Khmer Empire—new results of archaeological, epigraphic and art historical research