FRANCE, June 11, 2024 (Embassy of France in Cambodia, Google translated from French): The great reclining Vishnu of Western Mebon, the largest bronze statue ever found on the Angkor site, has arrived in France to be studied before its exhibition in 2025. It is one of the treasures of the National Museum of Cambodia and a symbol of the exceptional Franco-Cambodian cooperation over several years for the restoration of the Western Mebon temple on the archaeological site of Angkor. Discovered at the Western Mébon temple in 1936 by the French curator Maurice Glaize, this sculpture, which dates from the 11th century, is the largest bronze statue ever found on the Angkor site (originally, it must have measured more than 16.4 feet long by 14.7 feet high). It is among the treasures of the National Museum of Cambodia. An unrivaled masterpiece of Khmer art, this reclining Vishnu captivates researchers and curators from around the world, particularly with its symbolism and its particular form, unprecedented for a Khmer bronze of this size.

The sculpture’s departure for France is part of an active cooperation relating to the study and restoration of Vishnu. The National Museum of Cambodia has thus established a partnership with the National Museum of Asian Arts-Guimet as well as the EFEO and the C2RMF to carry out this operation. During its stay in France, this work will initially be the subject of a complete scientific study at the C2RMF in Paris, before benefiting from a major restoration program at the Arc’Antique laboratory in Nantes. This initiative is made possible thanks to the support of ALIPH (International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas). The reclining Vishnu will then return to the National Museum of Asian Arts – Guimet in Paris where it will constitute the centerpiece of an exceptional exhibition dedicated to the art of bronze in Cambodia from April 30 to September 8, 2025. After the Guimet museum, the reclining Vishnu will then be presented in several cities in the United States before returning to Cambodia.

See French article and photos at this La France au Cambodge website URL: