July 23, 2024

Motac: Buddha statue found in Kedah’s Bukit Choras older than Angkor Wat

Motac: Buddha statue found in Kedah’s Bukit Choras older than Angkor Wat

GEORGE TOWN, June 26 — The discovery of a Buddha statue, dating back to the eighth or ninth century, in the Bukit Choras archaeological heritage site in Yan, Kedah shows the significance of the area as an important religious site at that time and older than the Angkot Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur in Indonesia.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry secretary-general Datuk Roslan Abdul Rahman said this discovery by a research team from the Global Archaeological Research Centre (PPAG), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is an archaeology tourism asset and attraction for tourists to Kedah.

“We will hold an exhibition soon after USM completes a thorough study on the relic, and we have not made a decision yet on whether such discoveries will be exhibited at a selected museum or if Bukit Choras will be developed as a new archaeotourism product like as has been done in Cambodia and Indonesia.

“The discovery is older than the Angkor Wat and Borobudur. This is interesting for us,” he said in a press conference on the discovery held at the PPAG, USM here today.


He said the local research team, led by Nasha Rodziadi Khaw, involved a collaboration between the National Heritage Department (JWN) and USM, and this research had been ongoing from April 21 to May 21 this year.

Meanwhile, Roslan said the phase three of the archaeological research revealed a building structure, with its north and west walls evident, clearly showing the main structure of the Bukit Choras temple has a unique architecture.

He said an important discovery at the site was the human-sized Buddha statue made of stucco, which is a mixture of lime, water and sand found at the temple’s north wall.


“Different from the sculptures found during phase I and phase II (of the archeological research), this time a complete statue was found with its head and iconographic features such as robes, facial expressions and clothing clearly visible. In addition, a Sanskrit inscription was found carved on the statue, and fragments of earthen pottery also discovered.

“As a safety measure and to do further research, the relic has been taken out of the Bukit Choras site and temporarily placed in the PPAG USM laboratory for comprehensive conservation work,” he also said.

In total, up till phase 3, as many as three inscriptions had been found at Bukit Choras, where the inscriptions contained Buddhist mantras.

Roslan added that the latest discoveries at the site opened up space for a new interpretation of Kedah Tua civilisation’s geostrategic position as an important place in South-east Asia’s maritime trade route. — Bernama

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