Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ancient artefacts depicting gods listed as national heritage

Ancient artefacts depicting gods listed as national heritage

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Two ancient statues depicting gods have been registered as national heritage by the Oddar Meanchey provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts. Photo supplied

Ancient artefacts depicting gods listed as national heritage

Two ancient statues depicting gods have been registered as national heritage by the Oddar Meanchey provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts after they were discovered by a local farmer last month and then handed to specialists on Friday.

Provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts director Hong Yoeun told The Post on Sunday that one of the statues depicted Vishnu and was 51cm tall and 18cm wide, while the other, 40cm high and 14cm in width, was in a style commonly found on ancient temple walls.

“The two statues of gods were made from sandstone during the Angkor era or in the Koh Ker style of some thousand years ago,” he added.

Yoeun said the statues were in a poor condition. The Vishnu statue, he said, had lost its head. A foot and left hand is broken and the lower part of the right hand is missing. The other statue had been severely eroded due to its old age and repeated contact with hard objects.

“However, we have kept and registered them as a national heritage,” he said.

The two statues were discovered by Orn Svoeun, a 56-year-old farmer from Sopheap village in Banteay Ampil district’s Ampil commune, about a month ago while he was ploughing his land to grow cassava.

Svoeun told The Post on Sunday that he discovered the statues when they emerged from the soil in his tractor’s furrow.

“I picked them up and took the statues to my home and cleaned them up. But they were missing heads and parts of their bodies, so I couldn’t keep them to worship at home.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A farmer in Odday Meanchey province found two ancient statues about a month ago. Photo supplied

“So at the beginning of the Buddhist religious season, I gave the two statues to the head monk at Kork Ov Lork pagoda for safekeeping,” he said.

Svoeun said on Friday, the pagoda committee and the head of the pagoda relayed the information to the Ampil commune police chief asking experts to intervene and inspect the statues because their style was different from the rest of the pagoda.

On the same evening, specialists from the Heritage Office of the Oddar Meanchey provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts came to inspect the statues and said they were from the Angkor era and were over a thousand years old.

“After being told about their background, I, along with the pagoda’s committee and the local authority, decided to give the two statues to specialists for safekeeping and so they could be registered as national heritage,” he said.

Ampil commune deputy police chief Phat Chheb said after a religious ceremony to accept and hand over the two statues, the specialists gave a reward of 30,000 riel ($7.50) to each member of the pagoda committee and 50,000 riel to Svoeun.

Chheb said the specialists searched the field where the statues had been discovered for any missing parts but nothing was found.

He said in the past, many ancient hills, tombs and temples in Oddar Meanchey province had been unearthed to look for relics and valuable items – such as ancient pearls and jars decorated

with gemstones and other precious stones.

The illegal excavation was promoted by Thai smugglers who traded in ancient relics, Chheb said.


  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped