Will Europe ever return ‘looted’ Asian artifacts?

Growing pressure on European museums to return artifacts taken from Southeast Asia during colonial times could provide soft-power benefits for the EU amid attempts to improve its image in the region, analysts say.

During Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet’s state visit to France in January, President Emmanuel Macron pledged support for returning more Khmer artifacts and for technical assistance to expand the National Museum of Cambodia.

Macron is often cited as the first European leader to lend a voice to long-standing demands from Asian states for the return of their antiquities after he gave a speech in 2017 in which he said that he would “do everything possible” to return the cultural heritage that colonial France had looted.

A few months earlier, the Musee Guimet in Paris, France’s national museum of Asian art, had agreed to return the head and body of a seventh-century Khmer statue, which had been taken in the 1880s, to Cambodia on a five-year loan agreement.

In full: https://www.dw.com/en/will-european-museums-return-southeast-asias-stolen-artifacts/a-68144451

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