by Zhou Daguan, edited and translated by Michael Smithies.
Siam Society, 2001, (4th revised edition). www.siamsociety.com
The Khmer Empire and Angkor Wat still holds a remarkable fascination for many people even today. After almost a millennium of the height of its power and glory its retains its influence on our imaginations. Thais borrowed some of the Khmer Empire’s cultural artifacts that can still be seen today, like classical Thai dance, dress. and some of the Thai alphabet. This book is a fascinating look at the great empire and how it operated. The Customs of Cambodia is a book written by Zhou Daguan, the Yuan dynasty Chinese official, who resided in Angkor between 1296 and 1297. His account has great historical significance as it is the only surviving first person written record of daily life in the Khmer Empire. The only other available written information is from temple wall inscriptions. The Chinese author was part of a diplomatic mission sent by Timur Khan, grandson of Kublai Khan in 1297 to the court of Indravarman III (reigned 1295–1308). A very enjoyable read..