Vishnu statue discovered in Sithep Historical Park

A statue of Vishnu discovered in the Sithep Historical Park in Thailand hints at the larger exchange networks that would have existed during the Dvaravati and Khmer periods.

Statue of Vishnu discovered at Sithep Historical Park, Bangkok Post 20130330
Statue of Vishnu discovered at Sithep Historical Park, Bangkok Post 20130330

Glimpses into pre-Siam life
Bangkok Post, 30 March 2013

A recently discovered Khmer-style artefact links a historical northern Thai town to the wider Southeast Asian region, not only proving Thailand’s cultural wealth of old, but also adding an important piece to the puzzle about the region’s trading significance in pre-Siam days.

The statue, featuring Vishnu, the revered Hindu deity of South and Southeast Asia, was unearthed at the Sithep Historical Park in Phetchabun. In archaeological and historical terms, it seems to tick a lot of boxes.

The statue, missing its head, arms and knees, was excavated from a moat west of Sithep town in late January. While physically incomplete, the piece adds significantly to the knowledge of ancient civilisations before historical records were kept.

Pongdhan Sampaongern, chief of the Sithep Historical Park, said the Vishnu statue is similar to others found in ancient sites in other parts of the country including Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Prachin Buri, as well as certain areas in Oc Eo town in Cambodia and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

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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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