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.
Labels: Angkor Thom, National Museum