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Thailand calls for return of over 60 looted ancient artworks


Thailand is hoping to recover 60 looted Thai artefacts from overseas, the Culture Ministry announced this week.

Thailand calls for return of over 60 looted ancient artworks
Thailand is calling for the return from the US of a prominent 11th-century stone lintel
from Prasat Khao Lon in Sa Kaew province. [Credit: Thai. Culture Ministry]
“The ministry’s ad hoc committee has called for the repatriation of dozens of artefacts that originated in Thailand from leading US museums and a UK museum,” Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat said at a press conference at the National Library in Bangkok.


“After a one-year investigation aimed at bringing hundreds of looted Thai art pieces from the US, we are expecting to get back more that 60 heritage artworks in the near future,” he said.

Vira said the Prayut Cha-o-cha government had called for the return of 705 looted artefacts from museums in the US and Australia.

Thailand calls for return of over 60 looted ancient artworks
Thailand calls for returns of 18 Buddha statues and sculptures in the collections of such top institutions
as New York’s Metropolitan Art Museum and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California,
as well as the Asian Art Museum [Credit: Thai. Culture Ministry]
Fine Art Department director Ananda Chuchoti said the pieces are expected to be coming home include two 11th-century stone lintels, one from Prasat Nong Hong in |Buri Ram and the other from Prasat Khao Lon in Sa Kaew.


They are currently in the permanent collection of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Also anticipated are 18 Buddha statues and sculptures in the collections of such top institutions as New York’s Metropolitan Art Museum and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, as well as the Asian Art Museum.

“These masterpieces include an 8th-century bronze statue of the preaching Buddha called Avalokitesvara, taken from Prasat Hin Khao Bat II in Buri Ram,” archaeologist Tanongsak Hanwong, a member of the ad hoc ministry committee, told The Nation. “It is currently with the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York.”

Thailand calls for return of over 60 looted ancient artworks
Thailand calls for retruns of two 11th-century stone lintels, one from Prasat Nong Hong in Buri Ram, right,
and the other from Prasat Khao Lon in Sa Kaew. They are currently in the permanent collection
of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco [Credit: Thai. Culture Ministry]
Four other stone architectural artefacts taken from Buri Ram’s Prasart Panomrung and Nakhon Ratchasima’s Prasat Hin Pimai are also expected to return.


“More importantly,” said Tanongsak, “the government also determined that a 13-century Buddha statue now at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies is Thai art and is in the process of calling for its return.”

Ananda said the government was able to provide photographic and other verification of several artefacts’ origin to the US Department of Homeland Security as requested.

Thailand calls for return of over 60 looted ancient artworks
Thailand is calling for return of from UK's SOAS of  the 13th-century Lopburi Buddha torso
[Credit: Angela Chiu]
American collector Lisette Christiansen and Thai physician Santi Viboonmongkol, who both keep collections in the US, intend to return 38 prehistoric artefacts, including Baan Chiang pottery, to the government.

Source: The Nation [November 07, 2018]

TANN

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