Saturday, April 11, 2009

Returning home

LtoR: Hun Sen, demon head, Abhisit Vejjajiva (Thai PM): Pic Reuters.
The return of a Khmer treasure from Thailand - a mere drop in the ocean of Khmer artifacts held over the border either by the authorities or in antique shops - took place between the two leaders of Cambodia and Thailand yesterday, before the start of an Asean summit in Pattaya. It's the head of a demon from one of Angkor Thom's monumental gates most likely and is one of seven similar pieces that will be handed back to Cambodia next week, when the Thai PM visits Phnom Penh. The Thais have stacks more but they expect Cambodia to jump through hoops and provide irrefutable evidence that the items were stolen from Cambodia. I get very annoyed when I hear about Khmer artifacts held overseas, in foreign museums and elsewhere. They should be residing in museums in this country. Full stop. The only reason Khmer artifacts should be overseas is in the form of travelling exhibitions. One such exhibition, Bronzes from the National Museum, will take place in Washington DC from May next year, when 38 bronze sculptures - out of 6,800 held at the National Museum - will go on display as part of efforts to promote Asian art. Let's hope they all make it back home afterwards.

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Blogger xVanna said...

I'm so glad to hear that. I hope the Cambodian government will try show more evidences to bring back more Khmer artifacts.

April 11, 2009 at 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Kent Davis said...

A great photo and an important step forward for Cambodian-Thai relations. Both nations should join together to respect and honor the Khmer parents who gave them life.

I absolutely agree that artifacts removed from their place of Khmer origin should be returned. Imagine if pieces were taken from Pimai or Sikhoraphum (a personal favorite) and displayed in Phnom Penh.

But as you point out some of the worst offenders are in other places around the world. Penny Edward's book "Cambodge" has shocking evidence of massive antiquities theft committed against the documented orders of the Cambodian King and his people.

With unity and cooperation Cambodian and Thai heritage can be restored to its proper home.

April 11, 2009 at 7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great news, now we just need those other artifacts!

April 12, 2009 at 8:17 AM  

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