Buddha statue thefts on the rise at Luang Prabang

100 Buddha statues have been reported stolen from temples in the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, fuelled by the trade in antiquities.

photo credit: amsfrank

Buddha statues steal away in Luang Prabang
Vientiane Times, via Asiaone, 07 May 2009

Some 100 statutes of Buddha have been stolen or lost in Luang Prabang province over the past five years, according to a 2009 investigation report by the province’s Heritage Department.

That Luang temple and Vat Si Phouttabath have suffered the largest losses.

The report stated about 16 statues had also gone missing from Vat Xiengthong, one of the oldest temples in the province.

Luang Prabang Provincial Heritage Department Deputy Director, Mr Bounkhoung Khouthao, said most of the statues were stolen in 2006, with most thought to have been crafted in the 14th century.

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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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