Australian Museums May Hold More Than 100 Looted Cambodian Antiquities

The National Gallery of Australia announced the return of three 9th-century Buddhist statues it had displayed after a fact-finding mission found that Australian museums are holding within their collection more than 100 antiquities looted from Cambodia.

“The repatriation is the result of a decade-long investigation and a highly valued collaboration between the National Gallery of Australia and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in Cambodia, to determine the place of origin of the works of art that were removed from the national collection in 2021 due to the likelihood that they were illegally exported from their country of origin,” the NGA said in a statement on Friday.

The statues were bought for US$1.5 million by the Australian museum in 2011 from the late Douglas Latchford, a name which today lives in infamy in the art world, as Latchford was revealed to have dealt heavily in looted antiquities from Southeast Asia, particularly Cambodia, where he once had connections with the oppressive Khmer Rouge regime.

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