US private collector to return 28 looted antiquities to Cambodia

by IANS |

Phnom Penh, Jan 13 (IANS) Cambodia has said that a US private collector has agreed to return 28 looted Cambodian cultural artifacts and the antiquities will be repatriated to the kingdom at an appropriate time.

One of the antiquities is a large Ganesha believed to be from Prasat Bak temple at Koh Ker Temple, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts said on Wednesday in a press statement, adding that this statue was looted from Cambodia about two decades ago.

In 2020, it was listed by the Antiquities Coalition as one of the top 10 most wanted looted statues in the world, the statement said.

"This sculpture of Ganesha is another astonishing example of the brilliance of our ancestors. Ganesha, the Hindu god with an elephant's head, is widely known for its wisdom and power to overcome obstacles and its return home will be a momentous occasion for Cambodia," Phoeurng Sackona, Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, said in the statement.

Other artifacts include a sandstone Buddha sculpture from seventh-eighth century, a 10th century Hindu god Vishnu, and a 10th century bronze image of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, Xinhua news agency reported.

"This repatriation shows Cambodia's continuing commitment to finding and bringing back our ancestors' souls that departed from their motherland over a number of years, including during a period of war," she added.

"We encourage other private collectors and museums to follow this private collector's decision and to contact us now to discuss repatriation to the rightful owner," the Minister said.

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