Monday, June 2, 2008

Looting on the hill

A devata on the wall of Phnom Banan, minus her head
Throughout the centuries since it was constructed, Phnom Banan has suffered greatly at the hands of thieves and looters. In addition, most images of Buddha have been defaced on lintels and the devatas in niches on the wall of the central sanctuary have all been beheaded. There are still carvings in place but time and human intervention means they're aren't of the best quality. Nowadays the temple has a permanent guard but the best statues and carvings have long since been spirited away. This has been the case of course at many of the remote temples such as Preah Khan of Kompong Svay and Beanteay Chhmar, where priceless artifacts have been lost forever. There are some carvings from Phnom Banan in the Battambang Museum, which is well worth a visit when you are in town.
This devata in a niche on the central sanctuary lost her head many years ago
The Buddha image above the kala on this lintel has been removed
This lintel too has been defaced with the main components of the carving now destroyed forever
This lintel showing Vishnu on the back of Garuda lies on the ground and is in a sorry state


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