Cleveland Museum says its Khmer statue not from Prasat Chen

Hanuman statue at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Source: Cleveland.com 20140513

The Cleveland Museum of Art says that its own statue of Hanuman was not looted from Koh Ker, based on their inspection of the pedestals there.

Hanuman statue at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Source: Cleveland.com 20140513
Hanuman statue at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Source: Cleveland.com 20140513

Statue not coming back: US museum
Phnom Penh Post, 15 May 2014

The Cleveland Museum of Art says it has evidence that its Hanuman sculpture was not looted from Prasat Chen in Cambodia
Cleveland.com, 13 May 2014

Buoyed by a series of recent antiquity return agreements, Cambodia hoped it would soon restore the full panoply of statues looted from a 10th-century temple north of Angkor Wat.

But an Ohio art museum announced yesterday that a sculpture it houses will not be making the return trip just yet.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper yesterday reported that the Cleveland Museum of Art contests Cambodia’s claim that the kneeling Hindu monkey god was pillaged from the Prasat Chen temple.

According to the newspaper, the museum sent one of its curators to Cambodia last winter to investigate the origins of the Hanuman statue. Equipped with a replica of the statue, the art historian could not make a match with any of the temple’s empty pedestals. Cambodian officials said they were not aware the museum had conducted the investigation.

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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