A large pillar with images of Buddha decorating it is being displayed at Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum in Siem Reap province. The rare Khmer artefact is available for the public, students and researchers to view.
The pillar is in the Bayon style and was probably created during the late 12th century. The sandstone pillar was nicknamed "Thousand Buddhas", according to Voeun Vibol Sokhom, a tour guide at the Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum.
Sokhom said that the special feature of this sandstone pillar is the 1008 small images of Buddha carved into its four sides representing the happiness of the universe.
He added that there are currently two types of religious sculpture found in Cambodia, the first is artwork like that found on the Thousand Buddhas pillar. The other type is artwork from Brahmanism with images of Vishnu like those found on display at the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
According to APSARA National Authority (ANA), the Thousand Buddhas pillar is rectangular, 122 cm high, 58 cm wide and 45 cm thick. It weighs more than a half-tonne. There are 1,008 small carvings of Buddha meditating that cover all four sides of the pillar.
At the top and bottom of the pillar there is some damage evident, with the surface of the stone having cracked. There are Naga head carvings at the top on the pillar’s four corners.
“Local and international tourists can visit to learn more about the stone pillar, as well as many other Buddhist sculptures on display at the Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum,” said ANA.