National Bank of Cambodia issues new 20,000-riel bank note into
circulation, joining others.
The National Bank of Cambodia has officially put a new 20,000-riel
bank note (the equivalent of about $5 in U.S. funds) into circulation
along with its other existing notes in 50- to 100,000-riel
denominations. Two other 20,000-riel notes, issued in 1995 and 2008,
are listed on the bank’s website as still in circulation.
The new issue was announced on May 16 in a sub-decree signed by
Prime Minister Hun Sen in honor of the 65th birthday of King Norodom Sihamoni.
This light pink, dark pink, and brown note is 155 millimeters long
and 72 millimeters wide. It has a portrait of the king on the face and
the picture of Banteay Srei Temple on the back. The 10th-century
temple is one of the highlights of the Angkor Wat UNESCO World
Heritage Site, although it is about 16 miles from the main temple complex.
Owing to its remote location, the temple, dedicated to the god
Shiva, was not rediscovered until 1914, and was not cleared until 10
years later. Although it is smaller in scale than most of the other
Angkor monuments, is among the best preserved. It is made from red
sandstone, a material that can be carved like wood. As the image on
the note shows, this resulted in some finest, most intricate carvings
in all of Angkor.
Banteay Srei was the site of an early cultural property dispute
when, in 1923, it was visited by a young André Malraux, who would
later become a famed novelist and Charles de Gaulle’s minister of
cultural affairs. The site was barely known outside of scholarly
circles at the time, and Malraux stole for resale statues of dancing
goddesses valued then at over $12,000 each. It didn’t work out so
well. He and his partner were soon arrested and eventually given
suspended sentences of a year and eight months each.
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