Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Cursed’ statue, ‘invaluable artefact’

‘Cursed’ statue, ‘invaluable artefact’

‘Cursed’ statue, ‘invaluable artefact’

When Prum Ky, 43, reported his missing statue to local police on Wednesday, he had little inkling that the dirty antiquity unearthed from his rice paddy could be an invaluable cultural treasure from the pre-Angkorian period.

Ky had discovered the headless, but otherwise well-intact statue on July 12 in Pursat town’s Kandieng district and lugged the artefact from his field to his house, hoping it would bring him luck and maybe even help him win the lottery.

“Three days later, he dreamed that his house was on fire. He told his neighbour . . . and the village elders told him that he should bring the statue back to the farm because, since the statue was without a head, it cursed his house,” said Soeng Sopheak, chief of the provincial penal police office.

The farmer hauled the statue back where he found it, and hid it underneath a tree. Two days later, it was gone.

Ky hoped a good Samaritan would bring back his sandstone figure, but after three weeks of unfulfilled waiting, he took his sore luck to the police.

“If you look at the style, the clothes and the body, [the statue] appears to belong to the pre-Angkorian period, maybe from the eighth century,” Sok Im Rithy, an archaeologist with APSARA said based on photographs Ky had taken on his phone.

Rithy said it is possible the statue is a well-done fake, but that every year villagers near the ancient temple sites dig up antiquities.

“They’ve found statues before, but almost never so big.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US, looted antiquities drive the world’s third-largest black market, worth an estimated $8 billion a year.

“We are sorry to hear about the statue,” said Lach Phengly, director of the provincial cultural heritage department. “It is the kind of statue which belongs in the National Museum, not a resident’s house.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to