04.11.2011 - UNESCO Phnom Penh

Buddha Statue Excavated at Ta Prom Temple in Angkor World Heritage Site

@UNESCO/Kosal Mey - Buddha Statue Excavated at Ta Prom Temple in Angkor World Heritage Site

Siem Reap, 26 October, 2011 – Two 12th century Buddha statues were recently discovered at the Ta Prom temple of the Angkor Complex in Siem Reap. The temple has been under restoration by an Indian-government supported team, ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), and the statues were found in the Hall of Dancers, located in the central area of the temple.

Regarding the extraordinary and rare finds, the UNESCO Programme Specialist for Culture, Philippe Delanghe said that one of the statues which is over 2 meters in height is “the largest of its kind to be found after the discovery in 1937 of the Bayon Buddha statue by the EFEO under the central tower of the Bayon Temple. The structure represents a Buddha sitting on a protective Naga. Both statues do not have heads which may suggest that they were taken off in a period of religious struggle and temporary return to the Hindu religion. It proves once more that the Angkor area is very rich in archaeological material and that the site should be preserved for future generations.”

The leader of the Ta Prohm project, Mr. D.S. Sood, indicated that the team is still in discussions with APSARA about whether to keep the statues on-site where they were discovered or to exhibit them at a museum. The issue will be brought forth for further discussion at the International Coordinating Committee (ICC-Angkor) Plenary Session in December 2011. Mr. Sood said that “finding the heads of the statues would also be very good for APSARA, who are the local guardians of such heritage.”

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