The Invisible Paintings of Angkor Wat. A Talk by Noel H. Tan


Enhanced photo of a stupa found on the walls of Angkor Wat.
It is barely visible to the naked eye.


In 2014, a paper published in the journal Antiquity revealed “invisible” paintings on the walls of Angkor Wat. These paintings, found throughout the temple, are mostly invisible to the naked eye. Some of the most indiscernible paintings are compositions of entire wall murals, apparently unfinished. This talk will reveal the invisible paintings of Angkor Wat, along with other historical graffiti found at the site. The post-Angkorian corpus of paintings and engravings present at the Angkor Wat illustrate a long history of occupation, reuse and conversion, shedding light on a common misconception that the temple was abandoned to the jungle before being “rediscovered” by the French and the Western world in the 18th century, and the transformation of Angkor Wat from a 12th century Hindu temple into a Buddhist stupa.

Dr. Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Art (SEAMEO SPAFA) in Bangkok. Born and raised in Singapore, he obtained his PhD from the Australian National University (ANU), where he researched the rock art of Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Through his work in SEAMEO SPAFA, Dr. Tan develops regional projects in underwater cultural heritage and archaeotourism. He is the managing editor of the SPAFA Journal (www.spafajournal.org). He cultivates a wider interest in the archaeology of Southeast Asia through his website, www.southeastasianarchaeology.com

Date: Thursday, 16 August 2018
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2018-2019 Lecture Series.