France returns head of Hindu statue taken 130 years ago to Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - The head of a Hindu deity's statue from the 7th century was returned by France and reattached to its body Thursday for display at a museum, more than 130 years after it was spirited away.

See Full Article

The stone sculpture is of Harihara, a deity that combines aspects of Vishnu and Shiva, the two most important gods in the Hindu pantheon who represent the creation of the universe and its destruction. It was taken from the Phnom Da temple in southern Takeo province by French researchers in 1882 or 1883 and was displayed at France's Guimet Museum.

About 200 government officials, representatives of foreign governments, ambassadors and officials from the Guimet Museum attended the ceremony to reattach the head at the National Museum.

"After it was separated 130 years ago, we are welcoming the reunification of the head and the torso of Harihara," Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said at the ceremony. "According to our Khmer culture, the reunion is symbolic of prosperity."

He appealed to other countries that hold Cambodian artifacts to return them.

A 1993 Cambodian law prohibits the removal of cultural artifacts without government permission. Pieces taken after that date have stronger legal standing to compel their owners abroad to return them. But there is also general agreement in the art world that pieces are deemed to be acquired illegitimately if they were exported without clear and valid documentation after 1970 - the year of a United Nations cultural agreement targeting trafficking in antiquities.

In October, Cambodia welcomed the return of two stone statues from the Angkor period that were looted during the country's civil war and taken to Europe, where they spent the past three decades. The sculptures - a 9th century head of Shiva and a late 12th to early 13th century male divinity head - were formally handed over by Norwegian collector Morten Bosterud.

Also in June 2014, three 1,000-year-old statues depicting Hindu mythology were brought back to Cambodia. They were also looted from a temple and put in Western art collections.

Cambodia was ruled by Hindu kings for centuries, and it was the main religion of the country before Buddhism took over. More than 90 per cent of Cambodians today are Buddhists.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Police chief renews calls for mass casualty plan in wake of Broncos bus crash

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA -- A retired police chief wants the coroner's office in Saskatchewan to develop a plan for responding to mass casualties. Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill says the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists. Source
  • Ex-NAACP chief who posed as black pleads not guilty to fraud

    World News CTV News
    SPOKANE, Wash. -- A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black pleaded not guilty to welfare fraud on Wednesday. Nkechi Diallo, formerly known as Rachel Dolezal, made a brief appearance in Spokane County Superior Court. Source
  • 150 years in prison for Quebec mosque shooter would deprive him of hope: defence

    Canada News CTV News
    QUEBEC -- All Canadians have rights, including murderers like Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette, and they also have the capacity to be rehabilitated, the convicted killer's lawyer argued Wednesday. The Crown wants Bissonnette to serve a 150-year prison term but his defence team says he should be eligible for parole after 25 years. Source
  • Winnipeg educational assistant sentenced to 3.5 years for sex with student

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- A former educational assistant who gave a student money, food and drugs as their relationship intensified has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years behind bars for sexual exploitation. Sheryl Dyck, who was 42 at the time, was arrested in 2015 after seven months of having oral sex that progressed to intercourse with the 16-year-old boy. Source
  • Rob Ford's widow gets suspended sentence, 3 years probation in impaired driving case

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to impaired driving. A judge ordered three years of probation and 100 hours of community service for Renata Ford, and also issued a two-year driving ban and a $1,100 fine for the 2016 incident. Source
  • Former Mountie with PTSD sues Ottawa after multiple northern postings

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A former Mountie suffering from PTSD after multiple postings in isolated, high risk communities has filed a lawsuit against the federal government. In a statement of claim filed in Federal Court in Halifax, a lawyer says John Christopher Bewsher was exposed to "psychologically traumatic events" in Labrador and Nunavut and received no psychological evaluation, support or counselling. Source
  • More documents from Panama Papers law firm leak out, exposing its panic

    World News CBC News
    More private documents from the Panamanian law firm at the centre of one of the biggest-ever leaks of financial records have been exposed, showing how enraged its clients were, global media outlets are revealing today. Mossack Fonseca saw 11.5 million of its client files anonymously leaked to journalists in 2016 in what became known as the Panama Papers. Source
  • World expresses outrage at Trump policy on separating migrant families

    World News CBC News
    Outrage continued to grow around the world Wednesday over the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant parents from children, including infants, at the U.S. southern border. Here is a partial list of the institutions and individuals speaking out against it. Source
  • Drivers began drag race in front of unmarked police car: OPP

    Canada News CTV News
    GODERICH, Ont. -- Provincial police say two young drivers have been charged after allegedly beginning a drag race right in front of an unmarked police car in Goderich, Ont. They say the incident happened last Tuesday at about 10:30 p.m. Source
  • Another honour for Viola Desmond: 'She would be humbled and overjoyed'

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- After decades of being overlooked, human rights trailblazer Viola Desmond is receiving yet another posthumous honour. Desmond, who was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto last year, will be honoured June 29 with a star in her hometown of Halifax. Source