Statue restoration faces criticism
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Statue restoration faces criticism

The pictures show the centuries-old sculpture of a giant both before and after it was renovated by the Fine Arts Department, which subsequently came under fire. (Photos: Fine Arts Department)
The pictures show the centuries-old sculpture of a giant both before and after it was renovated by the Fine Arts Department, which subsequently came under fire. (Photos: Fine Arts Department)

The Fine Arts Department defended itself after facing a public backlash over the restoration of 500-year-old sculptures of giants at a Chiang Mai temple.

The pictures show the centuries-old sculpture of a giant both before and after it was renovated by the Fine Arts Department, which subsequently came under fire for doing a poor job. Photos By Fine Arts Department

Phanombut Chantarachot, director-general of the department, said on Tuesday the restoration of the two-metre-tall plaster sculptures at Wat Umong in tambon Suthep of Chiang Mai's Muang district was carried out according to standards to preserve their original characteristics as much as possible.

Mr Phanombut said the 7th Regional Office Fine Arts in Chiang Mai decided to restore the sculptures, which involved recreating the missing parts, such as arms, instead of just cleaning and reinforcing them as Wat Umong is still open and is visited by many tourists and Buddhists.

His response follows pictures being circulated by the media, showing the restored sculptures looking completely different from their original appearance. The backlash also followed Chiang Mai University's Faculty of Fine Arts lecturers complaining how the sculptures were carelessly restored.

The restoration came after the Fine Arts Department was informed by Chiang Mai governor, Nirat Phongsitthithawon, about the sculptures' poor state when he saw them during a visit to the temple in April last year.

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