Ouk Sokha, director-general of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts’ heritage department, said an ancient Buddha statue that had no head when it was found and handed over to the Kandal provincial culture department is now being securely stored at the National Museum.

He said on October 29 that the statue awaits comprehensive examination by experts following its handover on October 28 by Muong Sarim, director of provincial culture department.

The department received the statue from residents of Prey Toteung village in Ang Snuol district’s Tuol Pich commune on October 27 after its discovery on a local plantation. However, Sokha did not provide specific details about the statue.

“We have securely stored the statue, awaiting a detailed study by experts. We cannot offer more information at this time,” he said.

He also stated his gratitude to local authorities, expert officials, department leaders and particularly those who discovered the statue and volunteered to hand it over to the National Museum. He said that this act served to safeguard and preserve this treasure for future generations to study and appreciate.

A social media update by the culture ministry on October 28 said Sarim brought the Buddha statue to the team at the National Museum, where they have since safely stored it.

It said the fact that the finder and local residents opted to hand over the statue for safekeeping as an artefact of national heritage demonstrates the commitment to preservation and the collective responsibility of all Cambodians.