Cambodia calls for return of artefacts from other American institutions

Following the return of two guardian statues from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cambodia puts a call out to other American museums for the return of antiquities with questionable provenance.

Cambodia Presses U.S. Museums to Relinquish Antiquities
New York Times, 15 May 2013

Buoyed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s decision this month to return two stolen statues, Cambodia is asking other museums to examine any Khmer antiquities they acquired after 1970, when a 20-year period of civil war and genocide gave thieves free range to loot the country’s ancient temples.

“We are calling on all American museums and collectors, that if they have these statues unlawfully or illegally they should return them to Cambodia,” Ek Tha, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, the nation’s governing body, said this week. They “should follow the Metropolitan’s lead,” he added.

Hundreds of Cambodian antiquities are in American museums, as well as in the hands of foreign institutions and private collectors. Many were acquired after 1970 and lack paperwork showing how they left Cambodia.

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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