Koh Ker statue: Sotheby's responds

Looks like Sotheby’s is trying to perform some damage control, now that the story has broken about failed auction of the statue from Koh Ker.

Sotheby’s Trying to Resolve Cambodia Relic Dispute
AP, via Jakarta Globe, 01 March 2012

Sotheby’s is working to help return an ancient statue to Cambodia after the government claimed it had been illegally removed from the country decades ago.

The auction house said on Wednesday it took the 1,000-year-old relic off the auction block a day before a sale scheduled for March 24, 2011, after Cambodia sent a letter asking Sotheby’s to do so and arrange for its return.

The 1.5-meter-tall sandstone sculpture of a mythical warrior in an elaborate headdress had been estimated to sell for up to $3 million.

Sotheby’s identified the seller as a European collector who purchased the work from a London dealer in 1975, almost two decades before a 1993 Cambodia law prohibited the removal of cultural artifacts without government permission.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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