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Apsara archaeologists unearth head of statue

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
An archaeologist inspects the head. Apsara Authority

Apsara Authority officials have unearthed an ancient head of a Bodhisattva statue while repairing a gate on the east of Ta Nei temple at the Angkor Archaeological Park.

Chhuok Somala, an archaeologist working for Apsara Authority, on Tuesday measured the head, which was part of a Shiva statue.

Mr Somala yesterday said the head was made from sandstone and was 54 centimetres tall, 27 centimetres wide and 36 centimetres thick.

“Our working group took the head to keep temporarily at the Apsara Authority headquarters to document and photograph it and store its details at the Angkor Wat temple,” he said. “This statue was done in the Bayon style used during the late 12th century and early 13th century during the reign of Jayavarman VII.”

Sea Sophearun, an archaeologist with the Department of Conservation at the Angkor Archaeological Park, yesterday said the Shiva statue head has a Buddha image on the hair and only had the right ear intact. He said the nose and part of the face had been broken.

“The reason for the damage is still unknown, but it could have come into contact with something or disintegrated because the quality of the sandstone was not so good,” Mr Sophearun said. “We think that this head was moved from somewhere else because there was no evidence that the body was nearby.”

Last month, an ancient Cambodian sandstone sculpture, known as Shiva and Uma, was seized from a prominent San Francisco auction house and Cambodian officials will cooperate with the United States to bring it back home.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday issued a statement saying that the ancient sculpture is linked to a probe into the smuggling activities of Douglas Latchford, a private collector.

It is valued at approximately $350,000 and was put up for sale at the auction house.

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