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"I knew how passionately the Khmers love to recount tales of their legendary past, the point to which the traces of the marvellous art that had all but disappeared excited their imagination, the extent to which the incredible succession of catastrophes that had brought their country to a state of humiliation vis-à-vis their neighbours - the in no way morally superior Annamites and Siamese - had left them all with a shy reserve. I knew of the injustice with which these neighbours hastened to accuse them of pride if they revealed the noble thoughts hidden within each of them of a possible reversal in their fortunes. And I knew that if their intimate feelings remained hidden from those whom they feared would not be able to understand them, on the contrary it was with an extreme confidence that they opened their hearts to those in whom they recognised sympathy for them."

(Auguste Pavie)

Cambodian dancer in Georges Groslier, Danseuses cambodgiennes anciennes et modernes, Paris, 1913 (©ANOM All rights reserved)