Rice Farmer Discovers Pre-Angkorian Statue in Field

A rice farmer leveling his field unearthed a Buddhist statue that predates the rise of Cambodia’s Angkor era in the 9th century, officials said on Wednesday.

Dim Neth, a farmer in Kompong Speu province’s Samraong Tong district, alerted the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts after exhuming the piece on Monday, said Svay Sokhom, director of the ministry’s department of culture and fine arts.

“The statue could have been from Battambang province in northwest Cambodia,” Mr. Sokhom said.

A relative lack of historic temples in the province suggests that the statue might have been moved around in times of war, said Chhuon Sareth of the ministry’s heritage department. “We know that the statue was made during the pre-Angkorian period and that it is a Lokesvara statue,” he said, referring to a figure believed to embody all four compassions of the Buddha. “We are not sure about the exact centuries.”

Mr. Sareth said the statue, which originally depicted a standing figure, but had lost its arms and legs, was transferred on Tuesday to the National Museum in Phnom Penh for repair before being placed on display.

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