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

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

See Full Article

The stone sculpture depicts Harihara, a deity that combines aspects of Vishnu and Shiva, the 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

  • Toronto rolls out the welcome mat for Team Canada ahead of Invictus Games

    Canada News CBC News
    The team representing Canada at the Invictus Games has landed in Toronto. Ninety athletes competing in 12 sports arrived at Union Station Thursday morning, just two days before the games officially begin. The one-week competition is for men and women — both veterans and active members — from armed services around the world who are wounded, injured or sick. Source
  • Alberta not likely to follow through with spear hunt ban until fall 2018

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta does not expect to make good on a promise to ban what it has called the archaic practice of spear-hunting until at least next fall as it considers rule changes that could include prohibiting other methods of taking big game. Source
  • Pilots erred in Pence plane's skid at airport: investigators

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK - Investigators have cited failures by the pilots of a plane that overran a runway at LaGuardia Airport last year while carrying then-vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence. The National Transportation Safety Board's report on the Oct. Source
  • Canada border agent detentions of Mexicans surge to highest levels in decade

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Detentions of Mexican nationals by Canadian border agents have surged dramatically this year to levels not seen in a decade, new figures obtained by The Canadian Press show. According to Canada Border Services Agency, the total number of detentions from Jan. Source
  • Fire call leads to 337 charges against man after numerous guns found in home

    Canada News CTV News
    PICKERING, Ont. -- A man is facing more than 300 weapons-related charges after firefighters responding to a carbon monoxide alarm at a home in a community east of Toronto found something suspicious. Durham regional police say firefighters who went to the Pickering, Ont. Source
  • Unhappy hour: Truck with 40,000 pounds of vodka overturns

    World News Toronto Sun
    CLAYTON, N.C. — A tractor trailer full of vodka has overturned on a North Carolina highway and it may take until happy hour to clean up the mess. Clayton police said on Twitter that the truck tipped on its side around 5:45 a.m. Source
  • 'Clearly, a drunk can consent' judge acquits another cabbie of sex assault

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    HALIFAX — A judge has acquitted a former Halifax cab driver accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger. The Crown alleged Houssen Milad kissed a female passenger on top of her head while driving her home to the Armdale neighbourhood in June 2016, and groped her buttock before she got out of the vehicle. Source
  • Child dies after being left in car in Toronto, 1 person in custody: police

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Police say a young child has died after being left in a car in west-end Toronto. The child was taken to hospital in critical condition after being found in the car on Thursday afternoon. Source
  • Infant dies after being found in a vehicle in Toronto's west end

    Canada News CBC News
    Toronto police say an infant has died after the child was found in a vehicle in the west end of the city. Peel Paramedics responded to the scene near Burnhamthorpe and Mill Roads on the border of Mississauga and Toronto. Source
  • Rescuers attempting to save girl buried in ruins of Mexico City school

    World News Toronto Sun
    MEXICO CITY — A delicate effort to reach a young girl buried in the ruins of her school stretched into a new day on Thursday, a vigil broadcast across the nation as rescue workers struggled to pick away unstable debris and reach her. Source