Cambodia ‘highly suspicious’ about statues in British museums in hunt for looted art

Cambodian artworks held by Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum and the British Museum have been labelled “highly suspicious” by government delegates looking for “stolen” items in British collections.

The country’s ministry of culture is seeking the return of statues looted during periods of Khmer Rouge violence and smuggled to Western art markets, and a delegation was dispatched to determine which artworks were held in the UK.

A 10th-century statue singled out by the Cambodian delegation depicts wisdom deity Prajnaparamita and was acquired by the Ashmolean in 1999, with its original place of origin listed as a temple site called Prasat Ta Muen Thom.

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