Area of the mural damaged by weather; apsaras (celestial dancers) in the sky
Because Cambodian painting is essentially didactic, it also conforms to strict iconographic conventions. They were intended to ensure that the characters depicted could be recognized by everyone and the story easily followed
After 1431, the cult of the devaraja had ceased to be significant, and Hinduism had been displaced by Theravada Buddhism. However, Hinduism still played a part in court ceremonies, in the Reamker (the Khmer version of the Ramaya?a) and in the royal dances (the Lkhaon) based upon it. The fact that these themes are of Brahmanic origin has never been an obstacle to their representation in places of Buddhist worship, since the heroes have always been seen as bodhisattvas. The Reamker differs from the original Ramayana (the story of Rama and his consort Sita) in some ways, featuring additional scenes and emphasis on Hanuman and Sovanna Maccha. These murals were painted by a team of students from 1903-1904 under the supervision of an artist, Vichitre Chea, and architect, Oknha Tep Nimit Thneak. They follow bas-reliefs carved centuries ago into the walls of Angkor Wat and Banteay Srei. The murals are on the interior of the pagoda complex walls (which surround a group of buildings), covered by a portico, but open to the weather, and have been damaged.