Multi-million dollar statues reveal rich history of Mekong Delta

By Thanh Dung, Thanh Nien News

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Several sculptures dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries, when the Mekong Delta was under the rule of the Kingdom of Funan, are being kept at two museums in the region.
Bui Thi Thuy, director of the An Giang Museum, said the head of a statue of Hindu God Brahma at the museum is unique and valuable for historical and cultural studies.
“There are no other Brahma statues like this one, which is believed to have been created in the 5th century from sandstone,” she said.
The statue was found at a mountainous commune in An Giang Province in the 1980s.
Thuy said it was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the US in 2014, together with two lingam-yoni sets.
“We requested the museum to evaluate it for insurance. The value was set at US$2 million,” she said, adding that a museum in South Korea wants to borrow it for display.
The two lingam-yoni sets were also found at the same commune in An Giang. 
Meanwhile, a museum in neighboring Dong Thap Province is preserving a statue of God Vishnu made in the 6th century. 
The 70-kg sandstone statue, recognized as national treasure in 2013, is 149 cm high and was excavated in 1998 in the province.
Nguyen Ngoc Giau, the museum director, said the Metropolitan Museum valued it at $3 million when displaying it in 2014.
“It is an intricate sculpture that is still intact. There is nothing else like this,” he said.

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