Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia's Sacred Mountain

April 30, 2022 – September 18, 2022

Left: Northeast peak of Phnom Da in 2019. Southern Cambodia, Takeo Province. Photo: Konstanty Kulik, courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art Right: Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan (detail), c. 600. Southern Cambodia, Takeo Province, Phnom Da. Sandstone; The Cleveland Museum of Art

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC

B2, Gallery 28 Floor Plan

Revealing Krishna transports visitors to a sacred mountain in the floodplains of southern Cambodia. The exhibition showcases a monumental sculpture of the Hindu god Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan to protect his people from a torrential storm sent by an angry god. For the first time, the sculpture is explored in the context of its original environment, as part of a multi-religious landscape and quite literally built into a mountain. This larger than life-size sculpture is one of eight monumental deity figures recovered from cave temples on the two-peaked mountain of Phnom Da near the ancient metropolis of Angkor Borei. The exhibition tells the life story of this sculptural masterpiece—spanning 1,500 years and three continents—and unveils the newly restored Krishna in an exhibition that integrates art, immersive video installations, and interactive design.

The exhibition includes an original short film directed by renowned Cambodian American film maker PraCh Ly. Titled Satook, a word of blessing spoken at the end of Cambodian prayers, the film examines the role of ancient sacred sites in present-day religious landscapes, and the transformation of religious traditions in Cambodian American diaspora communities.