be supported by the Work of others while they labored year after year on the temples and palaces. In other words, the builders of Angkor Wat, Angkor T om, and the other ancient temples must have been a people among whom there were at least a few great

. geniuses and many men of much more than the average ability

and energy.

One of the strange facts about the art of Cambodia is that it begins suddenly without precursors and comes to an end with almost equal suddenness. In Central America, where the ruins left by the Mayas have many qualities like those of the Cambo- dian ruins, one finds a long series of earlier structures gradually leading up to the most beautiful of those that now persist. In Cambodia the most beautiful ruin is the oldest. It is a small temple of surpassing delicacy and great originality, and was probably built in the seventh or eighth century after Christ. Older ruins may perhaps be discovered when the damp recesses of the dense forest are finally explored, but at present one must go fifteen hundred miles to India to find a type of art like that of Cambodia. But even there one does not find the direct pred- ecessors of the Cambodian ruins, for Angkor and its neighbors are unique in many respects. The builders evidently derived the foundations of their knowledge from India, but they evolved new ideas and a new type of art which are distinctly their own.

For four centuries or more they built according to this new style. Generation by generation the size of the buildings in- creased, but true beauty and delicacy declined and originality diminished. In Cambodia, as in modern China, the later ruins tend toward a grandiose and highly ornate style less beautiful l than the original delicate simplicity. Yet even the latest ruins

inspire profound admiration not only by their size but by their genuine beauty. Only men of high ability could have planned and executed them.

, Before the last temple was finished some catastrophe, or per- chance merely a little revolution or the death of a great leader or architect, put an end to the work at Angkor Wat, so that the last of the main temples was left unfinished. Thus the great artistic