Abstract

Restoration of the statue of Ta Reach, which stands in the west gate of Angkor Wat, Cambodia, was completed between 2001 and 2003 as an act of physical and cultural repair. Past interventions had left the statue with three poorly executed concrete arms and a replica of the original head, and a recent assessment by conservators indicated that cracking in the statue’s shoulder could compromise its stability. As the statue is a significant religious and cultural symbol and place of daily veneration, conservators relied on consultations with the community to develop a treatment strategy. This article explores how the voice and values of the community were critical in defining the conservation program that strengthened both the structural and spiritual integrity of the statue of Ta Reach.

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