Cambodian art and the culture of Cambodia has had a rich and varied history dating back many centuries and has been heavily influenced by India. In turn, Cambodia greatly influenced Thailand, Laos and vice versa. Throughout Cambodia’s long history, a major source of inspiration was from religion. Throughout almost two
millenniums, Cambodians developed a unique Khmer belief from the syncreticism of indigenous animistic beliefs and the Indian religions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Indian culture and civilization, including its language and arts reached mainland Southeast Asia around the 1st century CE. It is generally believed that seafaring merchants brought Indian customs and culture to ports along the gulf of Thailand and the Pacific while trading with China. The first state to benefit from this was Funan. At various times, Cambodia culture also absorbed elements from Javanese, Chinese, Lao, and Thai cultures. Khmer sculpture refers to the stone sculpture of the Khmer Empire, which ruled a territory based on modern Cambodia, but rather larger, from the 9th to the 13th century. The most celebrated examples are found in Angkor, which served as the seat of the empire.