Temple yields trove of buried treasure
About 130 stone sculptures over a century old have been excavated after a road near a wall of the Emerald Buddha temple was dug up to build a water drainage system. They are now being exhibited on the grounds of the royal temple.
The sculptures may have been imported when Siam, as Thailand was formerly known, was trading with China, according to Arnond Sakworawich, a professor at the National Institute of Development Administration.
Siamese merchants purchased a large number of Chinese stone sculptures, known as upchao in Thai, to balance the ship's weight on their way back to their home country.
"His Majesty the King assigned the Fine Arts Department to excavate the sculptures for conservation," Mr Arnond wrote on his Facebook page.
Some historians believe the sculptures were placed in the temple during the reign of King Rama V as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Bangkok in 1882, but there are no records showing when they were taken out.
The sculptures resemble both Asians and Westerners. Some were carved wearing traditional Thai clothing and others were depicted in Western garments.