A Buri Ram-based conservation group has kick-started a campaign to press for the return of a “lintel”, a decorative object above a gate, believed to have been smuggled out of Thailand decades ago.
Tanongsak Harnwong, leader of Samnuek 300 Ong conservation group, said the pre-Angkorean lintel, which was made of white sandstone in the Kleang-Baphuon style and featured Lord Yama, or the god of death, surrounded by flowers, was on exhibition at the Chong Moon Lee museum in San Francisco. It was believed to have been stolen from Nong Hong temple in Buri Ram’s Non Dindaeng district some 50 years ago.
He said the group obtained a photo of the lintel and compared it with one taken by the late archaeologist Manit Vallibhotama, who took the photo of the famous Vishnu reclining on the Serpent Ananta lintel at Phanom Rung sanctuary, and found the two were identical. “They look like the same item,” said the businessman-turned-conservationist who was involved in the restoration of Nong Hong temple in 2002-2003.
– It’s been a day of new beginnings as the nation’s new leaders assumed of office on June 30, Thursday, but in addition to the good vibes, the National Museum has announced that entrance is “permanently free of charge for all visitors, Filipino or foreign, to its museums nationwide.
The Board of Trustees of the National Museum is implementing a new policy, effective by July 1, “in order to build upon signi涁ㄗcant spikes in viewership, especially among younger Filipinos, that have been observed in 2013-2015 and to date in 2016,” it said in a Facebook post
The Cambodian Museum of Culture has just published a book of stolen antiquities from the Battambang museum, a move which will likely assist in the future repatriation of artefacts if they show up in the art market.
The Ministry of Culture released a book on Monday of about 68 Khmer sculptures that were stolen from museums in Battambang City during decades of war and conflict, and intends to use the publication in a global search to recover the artifacts.
The result of a painstaking investigation by a restoration team from the National Museum assisted by the French School of the Far East (EFEO), the book proves that, until the early 1970s, the sculptures were at the Battambang Provincial Museum or the Wat Po Veal Museum.
“We want, first of all, to alert the owners of these pieces that what they have is illegally owned: This belongs to the national inventory of Cambodia,” said Anne Lemaistre, country representative for Unesco, which supported the book project.
The North Korean Angkor Panorama Museum opened last December but is not receiving many visitors. Could it be because at $15, one might as well pay a little bit more and see the actual ruins a few minutes down the road?
A North Korean-funded panorama museum in the cultural hub of Siem Reap is getting few visitors.
The Angkor Panorama Museum, reported to have cost US$24 million ($35.2 million) to build, is just minutes away from the historic Angkor Wat temple complex, which receives millions of tourists each year according to Apsara Authority, the government agency responsible for the archaeological site.
However, on Monday there were few visitors to be seen, while museum director Yit Chandaroat admitted the tourist attraction was yet to pull in large crowds since its opening in December.
In a vast parking lot outside Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temples complex stands a new museum built by North Korea, part of a lucrative charm offensive by a hermit state exporting its monumental art to a handful of foreign allies.
“When people come here sometimes they cannot believe their eyes,” said Yit Chandaroat, of the Angkor Panorama Museum, which opened in December after a construction process shrouded in secrecy.
“They really feel like they are back in the time of Angkor,” he added, referring to the world heritage site which comprises the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries.
Behind him stands the museum’s piece de resistance, an enormous 360-degree panorama that 63 North Korean painters from the state-owned Mansudae Art Studio toiled away on for more than a year. The mural, epic in scale and intricate in detail, covers an area larger than eight tennis courts and reflects the sweeping grandiosity for which Pyongyang’s artists are renowned.
Cambodia is set to reclaim the last of the statues looted from the Koh Ker complex known to be kept in public collections, with a US museum agreeing to relinquish the piece from its permanent collection.
The statue of the warrior god Rama has been held by the Denver Art Museum for nearly 30 years. However, museum representatives said this week that the artefact will soon make its return to Cambodia, though an official agreement has not yet been reached.
The Rama torso – missing its head and its feet – remained on display in the museum’s Asian art gallery until last month.
“The Denver Art Museum is currently in the process of returning the 10th century Khmer sandstone sculpture to the Kingdom of Cambodia,” Christoph Heinrich, the museum’s director, wrote in an email to Post Weekend.
An interesting insight from the articles is that despite its location beside the new ticketing ground, the museum itself doesn’t receive many visitors, leading the staff to switch off the lights and air conditioning when not in use.
The giant mural in the foyer depicting a smiling stone face offers a mere taste of the grandiosity within the new Angkor Panorama Museum here. Inside, a 360-degree painted vista covers an area the size of nearly four basketball courts. Over 45,000 figures populate this cyclorama, a depiction of 12th-century Angkorian history.
The museum, which opened in December, is a sweeping homage to what historians call one of the greatest cities in the world between the ninth and 15th centuries and the capital of the Khmer empire. But almost everything that went into this building — the money, the concept, the design and the artists — came not from Cambodia but from North Korea, namely, Mansudae, the largest art studio in that country.
At a time when much of the world’s focus is on North Korea’s mercurial leadership and nuclear capabilities, this studio’s work is quietly making its way beyond the borders of that hermit kingdom. In recent years, monuments and sculptures made by Mansudae artists, modern-day masters of Socialist Realism, have popped up in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and even Germany.
Yit Chandaroat, deputy chief of the museum, said he could see no other reason than seizing a business opportunity, citing the ever-increasing flow of foreign tourists visiting the Angkor Wat temple complex located nearby.
However, he did not rule out North Korea having the diplomatic motive of seeking to maintain its good ties with Cambodia and increase its footprint in Siem Reap well beyond two restaurants named Pyongyang.
The museum may also serve to promote North Korea’s identity, with visitors able to talk to North Korean women working inside, view paintings that depict the North’s mountain views and sample its ginseng tea.
According to Yit Chandaroat, more than 20 North Korean staffers are working there, including a dozen females.
The first Buddhist Culture Museum in the country was opened yesterday at the city’s Quan The Am (Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva) Pagoda with an exhibition of over 500 Buddhist antiques.
The museum, which covers over 500sq.m, also has ancient documents, statues and sculptures relating to Buddhism from the 19-20th centuries on show.
“It’s been a great effort by archaeologists, experts and monks at the pagoda to build the first ever Buddhism museum in Viet Nam with an extensive collection of statues and other exhibits,” said historian and deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Scientific History Association, Duong Trung Quoc.
At the end of a long, narrow side road – down the block from the new North Korean-built Angkor Panorama Museum – the Preah Norodom Sihanouk Angkor Museum sits hidden behind sparse patches of scrubs ten years after it opened its doors for the first time.
The little known and largely forgotten museum was first built to house more than 100 Buddhist statues discovered at Banteay Kdei temple by a team of Japanese researchers from Sophia University in 2000 and 2001.
The museum – established jointly by Sophia University and Apsara Authority – has expanded slowly over the past ten years to house two additional exhibitions of objects found during archaeological excavations in the Angkor Park.
At the December 4th opening ceremony of the Angkor Panorama Museum, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An told the crowd of nearly 1,000, “We need more tourist products such as this to attract visitors to Cambodia…We want to see tourists stay longer in Cambodia.”