Statue Fragments Found Near Cambodia’s Bayon Temple

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA—The Khmer Times reports that large statue fragments have been recovered from a canal near the Gate of the Dead at Angkor Thom by members of Cambodia’s Department of Monuments and Preventive Archaeology, the heritage police, and agents from the Apsara Authority. “The god statue found by the working team has four pieces, while another giant statue has only the back part without a face,” said Chhouk Somala of the Department of Monuments and Preventive Archaeology. The pieces are thought to have come from a sculpture depicting the Hindu story of the Churning of the Milk Ocean, in which the semi-divine half-human, half-serpent who lived on Shiva’s neck was used as a churning rope wrapped around Mount Mandara. The gods held one end of the naga, while demons held the other. As each side tugged on the naga, the mountain rotated, churned the ocean, and produced the nectar of immortality and other valuables. The carvings will be conserved and housed in the Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum. To read about a bodhisattva sculpture unearthed at Angkor Wat’s Ta Nei Temple, go to “Around the World: Cambodia.”


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