'Leper King' Terrace

Angkor Thom

The so-called "Leper King" Terrace was built just north of the Elephant Terrace (map). It is named, or rather mis-named, for the seated statue that once occupied the platform and has now been moved to the National Museum in Phnom Penh for safe-keeping. The statue was formerly thought to represent a legendary "leper king," but is now considered to represent Yama, the Lord of the Dead; the terrace itself might have functioned as a cremation platform, at least according to Thierry Zephir (p.82).

The 25m (80' long) terrace is shaped like a redented "U". Its north, east, and south walls face outward, and are deeply carved with seated gods and goddesses. Within, and separated by a narrow trench, there is another set of walls, also carved. The inner walls were built first, but then started to collapse, at which point the outer walls were added.

The dates of the platform and its associated statue are uncertain. Many authors date both platform and statue to Jayavarman VII, but Freeman and Jacques (pp.109-110) date the platform to Jayavarman VIII, and the statue to even later.