Preah Ko Preah Keo

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Preah Ko Preah Keo (Khmer: "Sacred Ox and Sacred Gem") is a famous Cambodian legend about two brothers who were born in Cambodia. The older brother was an ox called Preah Ko and the younger one was a man named Preah Keo. Preah Ko was an ox who possessed divine power. His belly contained precious objects and valuable things that people wanted very much. Both sacred brothers were believed to bring peace and prosperity to the place where they resided.[1]

The Legend of Preah Ko Preah Keo is very popular in Cambodian society. The story has existed in several versions including oral, written, film and paintings. The Khmer people have great respect for the enchanting brothers. In some shrines throughout the country, Khmers have placed statues of Preah Ko and Preah Keo, who keep watch over the land they left but never abandoned.


The Khmers and the Siamese (Khmer: "Siem") throughout their history had many wars with each other. The Siamese had sacked the Khmer’s capital of Angkor. Later on, Longvek, another of Cambodia’s capitals in the 16th century. After their successful capture of Angkor and Longvek, the Siamese brought many precious objects, jewels, statues, texts, learned men and many prisoners of war from Cambodia to their capital of Ayutthaya. The loss of these materials and human resources had a tremendous effect on the kingdom. The country had declined and lacked signs of progress in the later periods.

To explain these historical events and to express the great sadness over the loss of these priceless resources, the Khmers composed a legend called the Legend of Preah Ko Preah Keo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kimly Ngoun (2006). "The Legend of Preah Ko Preah Keo" (PDF). Retrieved 9 October 2012.