Tomb Raiders and Returns: Recovering Cambodian Antiquities and Our Collective Culture

27 May 2014 7:13 AM | Anonymous

Tomb Raiders and Returns: Recovering Cambodian Antiquities and Our Collective Culture

Posted: 05/23/2014 11:41 pm EDT Updated: 05/23/2014 11:59 pm EDT

 

It is not often when a federal prosecutor is "knighted," even less common for a prosecution team to receive such royal honors, and quite rare when it happens in America. But that is what happened in Manhattan when the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia thanked the United States government for its efforts to help save an ancient warrior statue from Cambodia from a Sotheby's auction block.

OvOver 40 years ago, during Cambodia's civil war, looters pillaged an ancient temple called Prasat Chen near the capital of the Khmer Empire and took with them a priceless collection of sandstone sculptures. Among the plundered items was the Duryodhana, a five-foot tall, 10th century sculpture of a mythic Hindu warrior.

To transport the statute, looters decapitated the warrior and cut its torso from the pedestal in the temple, on which it had sat undisturbed for over a millennium. For decades, the statute lay in the hands of a private collector in England. Yet in 2010, the statute emerged -- on a Sotheby's auction block.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-v-vlasic/tomb-raiders-and-returns_b_5383752.html

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