Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A man of passion, Kent Davis

Kent and I at the Friends restaurant yesterday, trying to appear serious
I thought I was pretty enthusiastic about Khmer women but Kent Davis takes this passion to new levels. I'm talking of course about the stone goddesses you see on the walls of Angkor Wat and other temples built during the heyday of the Khmer Empire between the 8th-13th centuries. I finally met Kent for the first time yesterday lunchtime after a few years of emails bouncing back and forth between us and I'm still reeling from the conversation. He is a fanatic, in the nicest possible way. And that love and passion will see more new books published by his DatAsia company next year that will blow your socks off, in his words. He's already published the Earth In Flower tome by Paul Cravath and Angkor The Magnificent by Helen Churchill Candee in his single-minded determination to recapture the beauty of Cambodia and the Khmer Empire in print. In 2009 we will see Cambodian Dancers: Ancient & Modern by George Groslier (right), as well as Daughters of Angkor Wat which will present analysis from his own Devata Database Project that suggests Angkor Wat is mankind's greatest tribute to womanhood. As I said, this man is passionate and his energy has been renewed by an incident that would've floored most people. In April, Kent lost a collection of 2,000 antique books, many of which are rare Southeast Asian histories dating back to the 1830s, when his home in Florida burnt to the ground. His enthusiasm is contagious and I'm really looking forward to not only the books in the pipeline but whatever else Kent gets involved in, there's literally no stopping him. Link: DatAsia


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