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Cambodia Requests Return of Artifacts Acquired After 1970

Monday, May 20, 2013


PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA—Cambodian officials have requested the return of Khmer objects acquired by American museums after 1970, when many artifacts were stolen during the chaos of civil war. As many as six 1,000-year-old Hindu statues from the temple of Prasat Chen are thought to be in the United States. Two of those statues, known as the Kneeling Attendants, were held at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. They are due to be returned to Cambodia next month. “If other museums are confronted with the kind of evidence that the Met was provided, I believe the Met’s actions will serve as an appropriate example for them to follow,” said Stephen K. Urice of the University of Miami School of Law. Sotheby’s has possession of another statue, the mythic warrior known as Duryodhanna, which was withdrawn from auction in 2011 after a Cambodia objected to the sale.