King Jayavarman VII (reigned 1182/83–around 1220) ordained the construction of 102 state-supported hospitals throughout the Khmer Empire. This was a revolutionary departure from tradition. Recent excavations at the Tonle Snguot Hospital Site uncovered a wealth of statuary and settlement data. The site is located outside the northern gate of Angkor Thom.
Research was carried out by the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre and APSARA Authority. Of note, a partial sandstone statue of Bhaisajyaguru (Medicine/Healing Buddha) was unearthed – the first found in situ at an ancient Angkorian hospital. Among other exciting finds, a complete Candra/Suryavairocana bodhisattva and a 2-metre-high guardian figure (dvarapala) were also recovered. This lecture will cover excavations, artefact assemblages, LIDAR analysis, and implications concerning the medical industry, site use, and settlement.
About the speaker
Dr D. Kyle Latinis is a visiting fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre (NSC), ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. He is director of the annual NSC International Field School. The Field School trains East Asia Summit participants in archaeology, anthropology, research design, and methodology. Dr Latinis has over 25 years experience in the Asia-Pacific region and over 20 years specifically in Cambodia. He earned a PhD in Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore (2008) and a PhD in Ecological Anthropology at the University of Hawaii (1999). Recent publications relevant to the discussion include: “Tonle Snguot: Preliminary research results from an Angkorian hospital site” (2018, NSC AU Archaeological Report Series #8), and “Regional research and training contributions from the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre: Results from research projects and field schools in Cambodia”, (Advancing Southeast Asian Archaeology, Bangkok, 2018).
Image: Bhaisajyaguru, Tonle Snguot Hospital Site. Photo courtesy of Natalie Khoo.