Prasat Tao

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Prasat Tao
Native Nameប្រាសាទតោ
Alternative nameCentral Group, Group C, Central Group Sambor Prei Kuk
K InscriptionK.443
Inscr. LocationIn situ
Part ofPrasat Tao, Isanapura, Bhavapura, Sambor Prei Kuk Group
DistrictPrasat Sambor
ProvinceKampong Thom
Coordinates12.86759, 105.03894
Founded7th Century
BuilderIsanavarman I, Jayavarman I
Art StyleSambor Prei Kuk, Kampong Preah
MaterialBrick, Laterite, Sandstone
UNESCO Inscription2017

1645 Pr Tao 2.jpg
(2 votes)

Site Size & Condition:Large Prasat Prasat Tao (ប្រាសាទតោ - Pronounced: Pra-saht Thaow)

Situated between Prasat Sambor and Prasat Yeay Poan, Prasat Tao is correspondingly referred to as the Central (or just C) group at Sambor Prei Kuk.

The layout is similar to Yeay Poan with a laterite enclosing wall surrounding a large, central shrine and auxiliary towers with additional brick towers within an outer enclosure formed by a 2nd wall. In this case, the remains of 5 structures can be seen around the central tower, with a further 8 Prasat Tao C17-1, Prasat Tao C17-2, Prasat Tao C18-1, Prasat Tao C18-2, Prasat Tao C18-3, Prasat Tao C18-4, Prasat Tao C18-5 and Prasat Tao C18-6 in the outer section.

Of the 5, the remains of 4 laterite buildings (2 east and 2 west, corresponding to Prasat Tao C14-1, Prasat Tao C14-2, Prasat Tao C15-1 and Prasat Tao C15-2) could possibly represent some form of proto-khleang or 'library' buildings. While the central tower Prasat Tao C1 is in excellent condition most of the outer ones are in ruinous states and various tuols certainly indicate additional original shrines. A single tower, Prasat Tao C16, stands alone in the southwest corner although, as mentioned, the foundations of several more structures are apparent.

Both enclosures come with east Prasat Tao C10, Prasat Tao C12 and west Prasat Tao C11, Prasat Tao C13 gopuras although, as with Group S, the alignment is several degrees northeast of true east-west. A laterite-lined pool graces the northeast corner of the outer enclosure.

According to a recent brick analysis, the central tower is the earliest, with certain outer shrines corresponding to the Bhavavarman II period and the others, (particularly to the east), being later Jayavarman I additions. However, while initial work on the central shrine may date to the Isanavarman I era, decoration - including colonnettes and lintels - is typical 8th-century (Prei Khmeng and Kampong Preah styles while the famous lion statues (that give the site its name) are considered early-9th century.

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