THE discovery of eleven Buddha statues floating in the Mekong River in Vientiane has local residents intrigued
The discovery was made last week in Thapha village, Hadxaifong district, by Mr View and his son. The pair was fishing on the river near their village and saw a group of Buddha images floating on the surface.
They immediately headed back to the village to call for help from local villagers to recover the find.
Many wondered how it was possible for heavy Buddha images to float on the river, but it is claimed that they are hollow.
The villagers decided to take the images to Thapha temple before investigating their origins.
Officials from the ministry of information and culture's national heritage department went to the temple to take a look, and found that claims that the images were valuable were merely rumour.
Deputy Director General of the department, Viengkeo Souksavatdy, confirmed the notion that the images were valuable was mere hearsay.
A similar rumour started in 2006 when images were found by villagers in the same district. However, after investigation, the images were found to be made from plastic and not valuable or ancient at all. As news of the latest discovery spreads, many Vientiane residents are flocking to Thapha temple to satisfy their curiosity and see the images for themselves.
The Vientiane Times went to examine the curiosities and found that they appear to have been made recently and are all in the same style.
The images have now been placed inside a glass case for protection. But, eyewitnesses to the discovery said the images are not made from plastic or glass, but some other kind of material.
Thapha villagers believe the images do not originate from Laos because they have an unusual symbol on the back.
"We're unsure of the details of their origins. We only know they are Buddha images so we have brought them to the temple," said one villager.
Most villagers estimate the images are around two years old. Many people have flocked to pay homage to the images in the mistaken belief they are old and valuable.
Local authorities have asked media outlets not to fuel the speculation and called on the public to pause for reflection before believing gossip and rumours.
-The Vientiane Times/Asia News Network
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