Fell under the spell of Khmer art, the explorer Louis Delaporte (1842-1925) has stopped trying to make it known to the French. Member of the French mission to explore the Mekong through his drawing skills, he rediscovered the ancient Khmer imperial city with a stop in it before starting the recognition of the river.
"He is so completely shocked by what he sees and the state of neglect of monuments", now says Pierre Baptiste, chief curator at the Musée Guimet. Back in France with his numerous drawings, Delaporte gets head start and decided to devote his life to discover this site built between the ninth and thirteenth centuries.
In 1873, he set up a reconnaissance mission of the Red River lined with a mission to explore the monuments of the region. Aided by the King of Cambodia gives his agreement to make casts, photographs and drawings of the temples under its control, Delaporte must still negotiate with local leaders Siamese, Angkor site is at the time under their jurisdiction
When his funds moldings and genuine statues arrived in France in late 1874, the Louvre refused, and the explorer is required to open a small Khmer art museum in the Castle of Compiègne will be transferred to the Trocadero Palace after universal Exhibition of 1878.
Ignored for decades, fabulous moldings Angkor now find the light. Because of erosion, looting and destruction of certain monuments, castings Delaporte are now the most faithful of the art of the Khmer temples witnesses.