Hindu deity's statue made whole again

May 19, 2006 at 12:29 PM
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PARIS, May 19 (UPI) -- It was as if the 500-year-old headless statue of a Cambodian Hindu goddess at a Paris museum had willed the discovery of her head to become whole again.

The museum Musee Guiment is ecstatic over a chance chain of events leading to the restoration of the 15th-century Cambodian masterpiece dedicated to the wife of Hinduism's most revered god Shiva.

The headless statue, found by French archaeologists amid the celebrated Hindu Angkor Wat ruins of Cambodia, has been on exhibit since 1938, reports Britain's Independent.

The chain of events began after the museum last year held an exhibition on Vietnamese art, the report said. At the time, the museum also paid tribute to John Gunther Dean, former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, for his efforts to save the Angkor Wat from the ravages of the Khmer Rouge.

Dean in turn offered a gift from his own art collection, and one of the items was a sculpted head of a woman, the report said.

"I had a sudden notion the two pieces resembled each other but then thought, 'No, things never happen that way,'" said museum curator Pierre Baptiste.

But the two pieces fit perfectly. "It was as if it had put itself together. I still get goose-bumps thinking about it," said the curator.

Topics: John Gunther
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