Head and Body of Khmer Statue Reunited in Cambodia
Friday, January 22, 2016
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA—Negotiations between France’s Ministry of Culture and Cambodia’s Council of Ministers has resulted in the reunification of the head and body of a seventh-century Khmer statue. The head, now on permanent loan, was removed from the body of the statue at the Phnom Da temple while Cambodia was a French colony, more than 125 years ago. “This head was among the artifacts that were sent to France—with King Norodom’s authorization, to show the importance of Khmer art, and from 1889 on, it was exhibited at the Musée Guimet,” Pierre Baptiste, curator of the Southeast Asian collection at the Guimet Museum, told The Cambodia Daily. The body of the statue was discovered in pieces at the temple in the twentieth century. “It’s only recently that we were able to make a cast of the upper part of the statue in Phnom Penh and bring it to France to check whether our head actually matched that body,” he added. The completed statue of Harihara, the fusion of Vishnu and Shiva in the Hindu tradition, will be housed at Cambodia’s National Museum. To read more about Cambodian archaeology, go to "Storied Landscape."
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