Cambodia has begun to press the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan to document how it acquired dozens of Khmer Empire antiquities that Cambodian officials, citing new evidence, believe were looted during the country’s decades of war and tumult.
Although Cambodia has pushed the Met and other museums in recent years for the return of individual statues and sculptures it says were pillaged between 1970 and 2000, this effort is far broader. Cambodian officials said they have developed a spreadsheet of 45 “highly significant” items at the Met that the evidence suggests were stolen before being donated or sold to the museum.
Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which has previously assisted Cambodia in recovering illicit antiquities, met with museum staff members last week to request they review the provenance of a number of the items, Cambodian officials said.
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