Hevajra statue's missing legs found

The missing legs of a Hevajra statue currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have been discovered by a British archaeologist… steps away from where the statue was originally discovered in Siam Reap. (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun). They will soon be reunited, but have yet to decide where the reunited statue will be displayed.

Lost legs found in Siem Riep
Phnom Penh Post, 29 September 2009

THE missing piece of an ancient sculpture of the Buddhist deity Hevajra, the bust of which is on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, has been recovered from a historic site in Siem Reap province.

The legs of the sandstone carving, which dates back to the 12th century, were stumbled upon by a British archaeologist this summer. He had been trying to find the spot where French archaeologists first discovered the sculpture’s remains in 1925 near Angkor Thom, the walled city of King Jayavarman VII (1125-1215). Instead, to his amazement, he found the statue’s legs “just lying there on the jungle floor”.

Dr Peter Sharrock, a senior teaching fellow in the art and archaeology of Southeast Asia department at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, said the French archaeologists must have removed the bust, but left the legs, unaware of the artefact’s significance.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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