Banteay Srei temple, made of intricately carved red sandstone, was founded by an important dignitary who served during the reign of Rajendravarman and then in the reign of Jayavarman V. Commenced in 967 AD,. This work attracted the support of his brother and sister, as attested by inscriptions on the stone door jambs of the lateral sanctuaries of the central group.
The ensemble is dedicated to the god ‘Tribhuvanamaheshvara’. The sculptures are of exceptional refinement and because of this Banteay Srei often earns the epithet ‘the jewel of Khmer art’.
At this temple, for the first time pediments appear with stories notably those on the north and south libraries. These exhibit themes related to Shivaism (the demon Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa above which Shiva is enthroned; with Kama arriving to disturb his meditation). Other pediments portray Vishnuist themes such as ‘The Rain of Indra’ and ‘The Killing of Kamsa’.Two other famous pediments from this monument now can be found at the National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh and at the Musé national des Arts asiatiques – Guimet, Paris. Numerous lintels also display sculptures from Indian mythology.
Proof of the continued occupation and therefore the maintenance of Banteay Srei and the surrounding site called Ishvarapura (with the Siem Reap river as the source of water), is provided by one important inscription of the early 14th century that can be seen on a stone door jamb of the gopura in the third enclosure.