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Ancient statue a riddle for experts

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
A close-up of the statue. Supplied

A statue, possibly from the late ninth century or early 10th century, has been found in a mango plantation in Siem Reap province’s Angkor Thom district.
 
It was taken to the Apsara Authority which looks after the Angkor Wat temple complex to keep in the Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum on Friday. However, the authority has not yet identified the type of statue.
 
The authority said the statue, with its head, arms and feet missing, was found by a citizen and kept in his house, but while it was there his children couldn’t sleep well and cried every night.
 
Another resident, Cheum Cheurth, who took the statue to the authority, said he found it near a tree.
 
He inquired about the statue and asked for permission from the man who found it to hand it over to officials to keep in the Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum for display.
 
He said he did not know what the statue was, but added that he loved the national heritage and he believed it was an ancient artifact which he did not want to be lost.
 
“I took this statue to the authority to preserve it and avoid it being trafficked,” Mr. Cheurth said.
 
Yith Chandaroth, the authority’s director of the department of culture, museum, and heritage, said he appreciated Mr. Cheurth’s attitude.
 
Mr. Chandaroth added that without the participation of citizens, it was hard for local authorities to preserve relics and temples from the Angkor area and prevent their destruction and trafficking.
 
Tann Sophal, the authority’s deputy director of the department of conservation of monuments in Angkor Archaeological Park, said yesterday that it would be hard to identify the date and style of the statue because of the missing head and limbs.
 
However, he thought it was a holy statue which could depict the Hindu god Brahma.
 
The details on the statue might be in the Bak Kheng style from the late ninth century or early 10th century, he said.

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