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Statue head reunited with body

National Museum workers reunite the head of a statue of Harihara with its body at a ceremony yesterday.
National Museum workers reunite the head of a statue of Harihara with its body at a ceremony yesterday. Hong Menea

Statue head reunited with body

The 47-kilogram head of a statue of Harihara – a unified form of the Hindu divinities Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara) – is being reunited with its body after 130 years apart following its transfer to the National Museum yesterday as part of an exchange with the Musee Guimet – France’s National Museum of Asian Art.

Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An welcomed the return of the statue, which was taken from Phnom Da in Takeo and shipped to France in 1889 by Étienne Aymonier, the Kingdom’s colonial administrator at the time.

"The assembling of Harihara’s head from Phnom Da on his body today seems to give a new life to Harihara again, which Khmers believe is a symbol of reunion, unity, prosperity and happiness in our Kingdom," An said, adding that this was a good new year’s omen for the country.

The head was returned in exchange for a statue fragment at the National Museum that completes a sculpture at the Guimet, according to a press release.

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