THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The World Court on Monday settled a long-running spat, ruling an ancient temple is on Cambodian soil while not defining the nearby border with Thailand.
Officials in both countries expressed satisfaction with the judgment, the Bangkok Post reported.
The international court’s ruling largely dealt with technical issues unresolved since France, then the ruler of Cambodia, failed to come to agreement with Thailand about the location of the border in that region in 1904. In later decades, that led to Cambodia and Thailand engaging in skirmishes over the rights to the temple of Preah Vihear, which was built in the 11th and 12th centuries. Read more.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Two 10th century Cambodian stone statues displayed for nearly two decades at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art were returned to their homeland Tuesday in a high-profile case of allegedly looted artifacts.
The voluntary return of the pair of “Kneeling Attendants” statues by one of America’s foremost cultural institutions is seen as setting a precedent for the restoration of artworks to their places of origin, from which they were often removed in hazy circumstances.
It comes as the Cambodian government is asking other museums to return similar objects. At the government’s request, U.S. authorities have begun legal action against Sotheby’s auction house to try to force the handover of a contested piece. Read more.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia - By the time they encountered a ten-meter-tall brick wall, trees growing from its top, they had been walking through the jungle for an hour. It actually wasn’t that far from the village, but there was no straight path. No path at all, in fact. A motorbike couldn’t get through, so they walked. Following their guide, they zigzagged through unfamiliar terrain. They were compelled to look steadfastly down at the ground and step, as best they could, into the footprints of the person before. It was a matter of life or death. They were walking through a minefield, not far from the border between Cambodia and Thailand in the Oddar Meanchay province.
Before leaving on this expedition through the forest, Nady Phann, an official from Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture, asked a local villager if there would be any mines. Phann was well aware of this legacy of his country’s war-torn past. ”There are many”, the villager said. “We found five or six mines per day when we were planting rice.” Read more.
A Cambodian composer has revealed the sound of an ancient harp which has gone unheard for more than eight centuries.
The pin harp is shown being played by maidens in the stone reliefs on the walls of the Angkor Wat temple complex.
It lends its name to pinpeat orchestras, which perform ceremonial music of the royal courts and temples in Cambodia.
Archaeology lecturer Preap Chanmara says unlike the other orchestra instruments - cymbals, xylophones, flutes and drums - the pin harp has been lost.
"We know that there are many music instruments on the sculptures - some even dating back to the time before Angkor Era: the 7th century to the 13th century," he said. Read more.
Six weeks ago the Metropolitan Museum of Art sent two of its top executives to Cambodia to resolve a thorny dispute: whether two pieces of ancient Khmer art that the museum has long prominently exhibited were the product of looting.
In days they had their answer. Cambodian officials documented that the two 10th-century Khmer statues, donated to the Met in four pieces as separate gifts between 1987 and 1992, had indeed been smuggled out of a remote jungle temple around the time of the country’s civil war in the 1970s.
On Friday the museum said it would repatriate the life-size sandstone masterworks, known as the Kneeling Attendants, which have guarded the doorway to the Met’s Southeast Asian galleries since they opened in 1994. Read more.
Scientists have long known that the sandstone blocks used to build the famous Angkor Wat temple and other monuments in the ancient Cambodian city of Angkor came from quarries at the foot of a sacred mountain nearby. But how did the 5 million to 10 million blocks, some weighing more than 1500 kilograms, reach Angkor? Researchers report in a paper in press at the Journal of Archaeological Science that when they examined Google Earth maps of the area, they saw lines that looked like a transportation network. Field surveys revealed that the lines are a series of canals, connected by short stretches of road and river, that lead from the quarries straight to Angkor. The roads and canals—some of which still hold water—would’ve carried blocks from the 9th century to the 13th century on a total journey of 37 kilometers or so. Read more.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Authorities in Cambodia say children bathing in a newly dug pond accidentally unearthed six ancient Buddhist statues believed to be around 1,000 years old.
Provincial Culture Department official Prak Sakhon says the statues were found Wednesday in Khleng Por, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of capital Phnom Penh.
Sakhon says the statues are believed to be from the ninth to the 12th centuries, with the biggest just over a half-meter (half-yard) tall and weighing about nine kilograms (20 pounds).
She said Friday the statues have been moved to a provincial museum while authorities investigate.
The pond had been dug recently and the statues were found buried in mud close to its banks. (source)
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia is banning smoking at the Angkor temple archaeological site.
A government official said Thursday the rule will promote the health and comfort of visitors and prevent forest fires.
Tan Sambu said “No smoking” signs will be added and workers will help spread the word under the effort started Wednesday. He is vice secretary general of the Apsara Authority that manages the temples.
More than 2 million foreign and domestic tourists visit the site in Siem Reap in the country’s northwest annually. The structures were built from the ninth to the 14th century. (source)