UENO Kunikazu Sophia University, visiting professor (70000495)
HISHIDA Tetsuo Sophia University, Kyoto Metolopolitan, Associate professor (20183577)
ICHISHIMA Shinshou Taishou Univ., 文学部, professor (10193442)
CYIRIL Veriath Sophia Univ., 外国語学部, professor (10216202)
MARUI Masako Sophia Univ., 外国語学部, Associate professor (90365693)
(1) In 2001, the Sophia University Angkor International Mission (SUAIM) discovered 274 discarded Buddhist statues within the ruins of the Banteay Kdei temple complex, during an archaeological training session for Angkor Preservation Officers. This occurred in the 11^<th> year since SUAIM had started the training, and it was Cambodian trainees who made this magnificent discovery.
Since the statues had been left undisturbed in an environment of almost constant temperature and humidity, they were found preserved in a surprisingly good condition, despite the fact that 800 years had elapsed.
(2) Their imposing features continued to radiate the same tranquil charm, and entranced all who gazed upon them. Judging by the condition in which they were found, it was apparent that a Buddhist devotee had buried them with care.
(3) In the course of the excavations, it was clear to us that these statues had been systematically destroyed. Judging however by the place of discovery, and the careful packing
of soil around and within the cavities of both the unbroken and damaged statues, it was obvious that persons who revered them deeply had carried out their burial.
(4) The posture in which they were buried, that is, an upright position along with smaller companion statues, makes this highly probable. Although the people who destroyed the statues may have done so on the orders of their king, yet it appears as if they handled the statues with deep respect. It is also possible that those who destroyed the statues were not the same as those who buried them.
(5) We have no way of proving this, but it is likely that Buddhist devotees gathered the remnants of the statues from the temple grounds, and buried them carefully in one place. The actual state of the statues and their historical significance will be discussed in greater detail elsewhere.
(6) As Hinduism continued to retain power, its believers sought ways of undermining the Buddhist movement. A new king perhaps ascended the throne with the support of Hindus, and his devotion to Hinduism was possibly matched by his antipathy towards both the Buddhist religion and former Buddhist kings, a fact that finally led to the persecution of Buddhists and destruction of their religious images.
(7) Our investigations revealed that statues of Buddha seated on the Naga existed in the province of Mathura in India, roughly during the period spanning the 3^<rd> to the 6^<th> century. We carried out a comparative study of images of Cambodian Buddhas and Indian Buddhas of Mathura, and then conducted a thorough investigation of sites within these countries. The Mathura Buddha images constitute an independent genre that grew out of the native tradition, though it shared elements of Hellenistic art that it received from the Kushana rulers. Here, the Buddha images have long ear lobes, thick lips, wide eyes, and noses that are prominent, besides having curly hair and folded garments. Mathura Buddhist images are related to earlier figures of male nature deities, and such similarities are seen in the huge images of the standing Buddha, of the early Kushana period. Less