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

  • Melania Trump to donate inaugural ball gown to Smithsonian

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Melania Trump is donating her inaugural ball gown to the First Ladies' Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. The first lady is handing over the vanilla silk, off-the-shoulder gown during a ceremony Friday in Washington. Source
  • Alleged Amanda Lindhout kidnapper tries to explain inconsistencies, despite taped evidence

    Canada News CBC News
    In the last day of testimony in the Amanda Lindhout kidnapping trial, the Crown poked holes in the story of the alleged negotiator who handled many of the details of the ransom payment that led to the Canadian journalist's release. Source
  • Man dead after 3-year-old boy given gun, told to chase victim: police

    World News CTV News
    WARRENVILLE, S.C. -- Authorities say they have charged a man with murder after he gave a 3-year-old boy a gun and told him to chase the victim around the yard of a South Carolina home. Source
  • $500,000 in collectible coins and banknotes stolen from man's car

    Canada News CTV News
    MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Police in Ontario are looking for a suspect in the theft of about $500,000 in rare coins and banknotes. Investigators say a 68-year-old British Columbia man parked at a Mississauga, Ont. Source
  • Pakistan arrests cleric tied to social media model honour killing

    World News Toronto Sun
    MULTAN, Pakistan — Pakistani police say they have arrested a Muslim cleric for alleged involvement in the 2016 murder of social media model Qandeel Baloch. She was found strangled in her home in the city of Multan after posting racy pictures on Facebook of herself with the cleric, Mufti Abdul Qawi. Source
  • Suicidal motorist who injured woman gets sentence cut in half

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A man who badly injured a woman when he tried to kill himself by driving his car into a hydro pole has had his jail sentence effectively cut in half. In finding the sentencing judge had gone too far, Ontario's top court ruled on Wednesday that Constantinus Dedeckere should be released after having spent one year behind bars. Source
  • Two people injured fighting Saskatchewan wildfire; one dead in car crash

    Canada News CTV News
    RCMP say two men were injured fighting a wildfire in southwestern Saskatchewan and another person is dead following a single-vehicle collision in the area. Insp. Ted Munro says Leader RCMP are investigating the crash and adds it's not known whether smoke was a factor. Source
  • 2nd trial in Candace Derksen's death ends in not guilty verdict

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- A man tried for a second time in the killing of Winnipeg teenager Candace Derksen more than 30 years ago has been found not guilty. Mark Edward Grant was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the 13-year-old girl, who disappeared on her way home from school in November 1984. Source
  • Prosecution: Accused Lindhout kidnapper is lying to court about his role

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- A federal prosecutor says a Somalian man is lying about his role in the kidnapping of Amanda Lindhout. Prosecutor Croft Michaelson contended Wednesday that Ali Omar Ader made up a story about being forced to work for the hostage-takers as a negotiator and translator, saying Ader was actually paid US$10,000 as a willing participant. Source
  • Officials confirm that ammonia leak killed 3 at arena in Fernie, B.C.

    Canada News CBC News
    Firefighters have confirmed that an ammonia leak was responsible for the deaths of three people at an arena in Fernie, B.C., on Tuesday. Mary Giuliano, the mayor of the small mountain community, told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that two of the dead were city employees, but they will not be identified at the request of their families. Source