NY Met Museum to return statues to Cambodia.
Experts say the statues appear to have been looted around 1970, about the time federal prosecutors say another statue, of a mythic warrior figure, was also removed from Koh Ker. That statue was pulled from auction at Sotheby’s last year after Cambodia asked for its return.
Wow. I never expected this. I just saw this exhibit last year!
One thing about exploring the world is that I often am reminded of how the old colonial world order still remains in parts of our society - case in point - many Western museums have artifacts that are gained by wholesale theft, looting and force, usually greased by corruption and broken regulatory systems in the (often impoverished) countries of origins.
It’s starting to change as the developing world comes out of their doldrum and demands their history repatriated.
It’s inconvenient, but if that means I need to plan an overseas trip to see history in its proper place, then I should value that.
I was in Cambodia some years ago at Angkor Wat. To see the immense edifices still standing vs statues whose heads and limbs were lopped off by looters to make their way into auction houses, private collections and Western museums — it was a huge shock.
I only hope the Cambodian govt can be good caretakers of their history.