Denver museum to return looted relics to Cambodia after US moves to seize them

The repatriation of the ancient statues comes weeks after Pandora Papers reporting identified dozens of Khmer antiquities linked to an accused trafficker in the collections of major art institutions.

Decades after they were hacked from temples and other historical sites, four ancient statues from the Denver Museum of Art are finally heading home.

The museum has agreed to turn over the relics to the U.S. government, which plans to return them to their native Cambodia, according to a forfeiture complaint filed Monday in the Southern District of New York’s federal court. The items include a likeness of the goddess of transcendent wisdom called the Prajnaparamita and another of the sun god Surya

The repatriation announcement comes amid mounting pressure by U.S. and Cambodian authorities on prominent art institutions to reexamine their collections of Khmer art, especially pieces acquired over decades of unrest in the country when looters stole vast numbers of culturally significant antiquities. And it closely follows an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and The Washington Post, which reported last month that 10 museums—among them the Denver Art Museum—hold 43 relics in their collections linked to a notorious indicted art dealer, Douglas Latchford.

In full:

Related Stories

Latest News