These leather carvings are made from a single piece of leather, painstakingly carved and painted to create these beautiful works of art. Primarily used for shadow pupppeting, the holes give depth to the show. It is often used as home decorations as well in traditional Cambodian families.
This art form almost perished during the brutal Khmer Rouge regime as they sought to purge and destroy every single form of art and culture in their quest for 'purity'. Luckily almost every craft had a small number of survivors who revived it right after the war and kept it going ever since. Today you can catch shadow puppet performances at a number of places all at Sovannaphum Association in Phnom Penh. You even can buy leather from there if you want.