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Cambodia

Preăh Réachéanachâkr Kâmpŭchea, Kingdom of Cambodia

Last modified: 2014-05-25 by ian macdonald
Keywords: cambodia | khmer | angkor wat | temple | francophonie |
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[Cambodia] image by P. Mattew and Eugene Ipavec, 8 October 1996
Proportions: 2:3
Usage Code: [FIS Code]

Local Name: ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រ កម្ពុជា



See also:

Presentation of Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia is one of the most ancient monarchies in the world. Until 1947, year of the promulgation of a democratic Constitution by King Norodom Sihanouk Varman and the organization of the first elections of universal suffrage, the national flag has 3 colors - blue, red, white - differently placed, the Blue, surrounding the whole, symbolizing the Royalty, the Red, the Nation, the White, the Religion, at the beginning of Brahmanism, and now with the majority of Buddhism.

The present flag with these colors arranged in horizontal bands, was officially adopted on October 29, 1948 until October 1970, then, once again, at the beginning of September 24, 1993, date of the reestablishment of the Monarchy. The central emblem represents the towers of Angkor Wat - Angkor being the only popular pronunciation of Norkor, Wat signifying Temple - seen from the front view. In the Khmer cosmology, the pedestal of the temple represents the Mount Meru, structure of the Universe, the top being the central sanctuary of Cambhu the kind lord creator of the world, divinity of predilection of the King founder. This symbol appears again on the coin which was struck around 1847, under the reign of Ang Duong and which was abolished under Norodom. The King was the intercessor between the sky and the land, between the gods and men. Nowadays, the national flag reflects the trilogy of Nation, Religion and King, motto of the Khmer monarchy.

According to sources (letter dated 04 03 99 from the French Attaché, my translation) "..the Cambodian constitution dated 21 September 1993 defines the flag and coat-of arms by graphic representation and no official text.." and in same letter a design with black and white temple (as in Album 2000 [pay00]) (message from same origin dated 27 April 95, my translation)"...the Defence Attaché confirms that the stylized architecture of Angkor temple is presented with black lines.."
Armand du Payrat, April 2001

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be. For Cambodia: PMS 293 blue, 032 red and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012


Coat-of-Arms

1991-93 Coat of Arms
[1991-1993 Cambodia Coat of Arms] image by Eugene Ipavec, 19 January 2011

Between October 1991 and June 1993, under the UN administration (UNTAC = United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia) Cambodia used this Coat of Arms.
Jens Pattke, 29 January 2003


Royal Standard

[Royal Standard of Cambodia] image by Željko Heimer

Royal Standard. 2:3 - Blue flag with the royal emblem in gold outline.
Željko Heimer, 19 April 2001


Royal Arms

[Arms of Kingdom of Cambodia] image by Mario Fabretto

One should speak of royal arms. In this case also, many are the reported versions. The arms showed two cups placed one over the other; over them a sacred sword placed horizontally surmounted by a symbol representing "om" the sound of creation . Under the whole two laurel branches united at the bottom by the star of the Royal Order of Cambodia. The image here is a late version of this coat of arms, but all the basic elements are included
Mario Fabretto, 15 June 1997


Vertical Banner

Vertical Banner image by Ivan Sache and P. Matthew

In an exhibition about South-East Asia, there was a picture of a pagoda in Phnom-Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia.

The pagoda entrance was decorated with several vertical monochrome banners, as often seen in Buddhist areas. The gate was flanked by two vertical Cambodia national flags. The flags were apparently "non-standard", because:

1. Their proportion was closer to 1:2 than to the usual 2:3, probably to match the proportion of the other banners.
2. The blue stripes were narrower than usual, probably to manage more space and allow the Angkor-Vat temple to be properly displayed (rotated horizontally of course, in the center of the flag).

Ivan Sache, 19 November 2000


In a local political magazine I saw a photo from Phnom-Penh taken recently showing, among other things, the lamp posts in the (main?) street decorated with vertically hoisted flags of Cambodia, with the Angkor rotated and set near the top. The one used on the photo was with stripe ratio similar to the national flag, the temple at the top and considerably longer (hard to tell how much, as the lower end is lost between the trees in the avenue, but at least 1:4).
Željko Heimer, 7 September 2003


Another vertical banner can be seen on a photography available on the Khmer Unity Party website, taken during the 2007 convention of the party. The stand is decorated with very elongated, forked vertical banners, vertically divided blue-red-blue (seemingly in respective proportions 1:2:1) with the Angkor-Vat temple placed, horizontally, close to the first third of the flag.
Ivan Sache, 19 July 2008