An ancient guardian statue was recovered at the Tonle Snguot hospital site north of Angkor Thom by the APSARA Authority and Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s Nalanda – Sriwijaya Centre (NSC) Archaeological Field School team.
This is a unique find because the statue is almost complete. It is a late 12th century sandstone statue and measures approximately two meters in height. The statue belongs to the famed Bayon style. Bayon style is associated with King Jayavarman VII. It was recovered on the second day of research by the archaeology team (29 July 2017) after being identified by APSARA archaeologists working with the NSC Field School.
There are often two guardian statues (or carved images) depicted in front of ancient temples. Although Jayavarman VII was a Buddhist, the statues are usually associated with both ancient Buddhism and Brahmanism (Hindu) in Cambodian temples. The archaeology team was there to investigate ancient hospital activities, habitation and structures. There is often a temple that likely served for spiritual healing and praying area. The treatment area is possibly a separate location in the complex. Medical treatment is depicted on the stone carvings at the Bayon temple. Ancient inscriptions also describe the nurses, doctors, guards, cooks and other people.
The statue will be transported to the Preah Norodom Sihanouk Angkor Museum because of its importance. This was in collaboration with the APSARA Heritage Police and local community authorities.
ISEAS was at the site conducting its Archaeology Field School. The Field School brings students and young professionals from East Asia Summit countries together for multi-disciplinary training and research. Archaeology and art history are the main focus.
The NSC Archaeology Unit at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute was formed in 2010 and inaugurated by the late President SR Nathan in August 2011.
Congratulations to our team from the NSC Archaeological Field School!
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Updated 11 August 2017