|An immaculately sculptured head of
Jayavarman VII at the Guimet Museum |
Bingo! Sotheby's have caved in and will return the 10th century Duryodhana statue, stolen from Prasat Chen in the Koh Ker complex in the 1970s, back to Cambodia. It took them two years to reach that decision, faced with just about everyone and their dog opposing them. Too bloody long in my book, but at least the statue will come back home. Now the pressure is on for other museums in Cleveland, Denver and Pasadena to do the same. They possess statues looted from Koh Ker - so face up and give them back. And then the Guimet Museum in Paris should be next on the list. They have hundreds if not thousands of artifacts from Cambodia - removed by French explorers in the late 19th century and taken to France for ... safe-keeping
. People like Louis Delaporte systematically raped remote Cambodian temples of their removable treasures, which now adorn the galleries of the Guimet, and lie gathering dust in their basement archives. I'm not naive to think that the Guimet will ever give up their headline sculptures - like the Jayavarman VII head above - but they should return every last piece that is lying ignored in their vaults and seen by no-one. I would allow them to retain a small collection of artifacts, on loan, but the majority should come home to Cambodia. As if that will ever happen.
Labels: Cambodia, Guimet Museum, Koh Ker, Sotheby's