Looted relics returned to Cambodia receive monks’ blessings

Cambodian artifacts were often looted out of the country beginning in the 1970s, under control of the Khmer Rouge. At least 13 antiquities have been returned this month amid a push in the art world from artists and scholars to return looted works to their countries of origin.

The faded stamps and ripped shipping labels on a 7-foot plywood crate trace the journey of a 4-ton, 10th-century statue of Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu deity.

The large crate was unloaded earlier this month at Phnom Penh International Airport, in Cambodia, along with several other smaller crates containing other relics, including a rare 7th- or 8th-century sandstone statue of the Hindu sun god Surya, and a bronze bell from the 1st century BC.

Artifacts like these were looted in the 1970s when the Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia, and continued into the 2000s. Some are now being returned amid a push in the art world, as well as from the US government, to return looted works to their countries of origin.

In full: https://theworld.org/stories/2023-03-28/looted-relics-returned-cambodia-receive-monks-blessings

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