Officials from three countries have called on Denver Art Museum to return eight artefacts in its collection

Six of the eight allegedly looted objects were donated to the museum by Emma C. Bunker, an associate of smuggler Douglas Latchford.

Officials from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have called on the Denver Art Museum (DAM) in recent months to request the return of eight allegedly looted antiquities currently held in its collection. Among the works under dispute are six objects that were donated to the museum by the late scholar Emma C. Bunker, whose decades-long support of the museum has come under increasing scrutiny due to her ties to prolific smuggler Douglas Latchord, The Denver Post reported.


Earlier this year, the DAM announced it was returning $185,000 Bunker and her family had donated to the institution as part of a naming agreement in 2018, and removing Bunker’s name from a gallery that had been named in her honour as part of that agreement. It still has more than 200 objects that were donated by Bunker. In March 2023, the museum deaccessioned five works linked to Bunker from its collection; it is presently working with the US Department of Justice to return them to their nations of origin.

Bunker’s collaboration with Latchford also helped facilitate the museum’s acquisition of more than a dozen objects from the disgraced dealer, mostly Cambodian antiquities smuggled out of the country during the reign of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s and the civil war that followed its brutal reign. Latchford died in 2020, and the DAM has since repatriated some of those objects to Cambodia.

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