Cambodia to Ask Met to Return 10th-Century Statues
Source: NY Times
The Cambodian government is convinced that two life-size 10th-century statues that have anchored the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Southeast Asian galleries for nearly two decades were looted from a jungle temple and plans to ask for their return, Cambodian officials said.
“The government is very serious about moving this forward, and we are getting much legal advice,” said Im Sokrithy, a director of Apsara, the Cambodian agency that oversees heritage and land management at the sprawling temple complex where, archaeologists say, the statues stood for centuries. “We are taking a forceful position, and we hope they can be returned.”
The twin sandstone figures, called the Kneeling Attendants, flank the doorway of the gallery where the Met displays its small but globally significant collection of artifacts from the glory days of Khmer civilization.
Experts say they appear to have been taken around 1970, at about the same time as a companion piece, a mythic warrior figure that the United States government sought to seize last month on Cambodia’s behalf from Sotheby’s, where it had been placed for sale.