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1,500-year-old Krishna statue draws big crowds in Cleveland

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The exhibition of Khmer statues from Phnom Da at the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition. THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART

1,500-year-old Krishna statue draws big crowds in Cleveland

A 1,500-year-old Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan statue from Cambodia has been gaining prominence following a successful high resolution 3D holographic exhibition in Cleveland Museum of Art, in the US state of Ohio.

The exhibition, “Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain”, was organised by Cleveland Museum curator Sonya Rhie Mace, who wanted people to know the story of the sculpture.

Sok Soda, deputy director of the Department of Museums at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said the exhibition was exciting.

“It is the first such exhibition I have ever visited. It was amazing,” Soda told The Post, adding that he was invited to a viewing in Cleveland last November.

He said that through the 3D modernisation system, visitors to the exhibition were required to wear HoloLens headsets, which provided a “spectacular” experience as it evoked a sense of emotion and visual imagery.

The simulation enabled visitors to experience history as it were because it took them to the exact location of the Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan sculpture in Cambodia, which is in Takeo province’s Angkor Borei district.

“After visiting the exhibition, many visitors expressed joy and said they would find time to come to Cambodia, the home of the statue,” he said, noting that the exhibition was also a way of attracting foreign tourists to the Kingdom.

The exhibition, which ended in Cleveland Museum in January, will open to public at the National Museum for Asian Art of the Smithsonian Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, from late April until September.

Cleveland Museum curator Mace said the exhibition was a rare and special occasion for Cambodia’s long-standing sculpture, along with Cambodia’s historical stories, to become the main topic of a large-scale and creative exhibition using modern technology from two large museums in the US.

Cambodia is not seeking the return of the Krishna statue because – unlike many other Cambodian antiquities found in museums throughout the world – this particular statue was legally exported to France around 1920. At the time, the sculpture only had a torso. Since 2005, the Cleveland Museum has been working closely with the National Museum of Cambodia to preserve sculptures in Cambodia and the US.

The document suggested that in 2015, Cleveland Museum discovered several fragments of the statue in Cambodia and assembled them.

The discovery apparently marked the beginning of a relationship between the National Museum of Cambodia and the Cleveland Museum of Art in the creation of Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain exhibition.

The collaboration enabled the broken pieces of the statue to be preserved for future generations.


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