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us.-seeks-to-return-tenth-century-‘masterpiece’-allegedly-looted-from cambodia

U.S. Seeks to Return Tenth-Century ‘Masterpiece’ Allegedly Looted from Cambodia

U.S. prosecutors stated on Thursday that they had been making an attempt to return a Tenth-century sculpture that they claimed had been stolen from Cambodia in 1997.

The statue comes from the positioning of Prasat Krachap, a temple in Koh Ker, which was the capital of the Khmer empire between 928 and 944 C.E. It depicts Skanda, the Hindu god of battle, atop a peacock. The U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for the Southern District of New York famous that Skanda was hardly ever depicted in Cambodian artwork.

In a lawsuit filed on Thursday within the Federal District Courtroom of New York, prosecutors known as the work “a masterpiece of Khmer artwork and a major a part of Cambodian cultural heritage.” The swimsuit was filed in rem, or towards the statue itself, which is presently within the possession of the Division of Homeland Safety.

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Of their grievance, prosecutors claimed that the statue had at one level handed by means of the palms of supplier Douglas Latchford, who died in 2020 and was accused of trafficking stolen artifacts. (Although, he repeatedly denied the allegations.) Latchford’s daughter, Nawapan Kriangsak, promised earlier this 12 months to return at the very least 100 stolen artifacts to Cambodia, which is planning to develop a museum in its capital, Phnom Penh, to accommodate them.

Cambodian authorities had been made conscious of the alleged theft in 2020, when an unnamed looter accompanied them to Prasat Krachap to point out the authorities the place the statue had been taken from. The looter advised them {that a} dealer, who was additionally unnamed within the swimsuit, offered the work to Latchford. Latchford then allegedly offered the work to a New York–primarily based purchaser for $1.5 million. It was then inherited by one other proprietor, who relinquished it to U.S. authorities.

Skanda on a Peacock is a piece of nice historic, non secular, and creative significance to the individuals of Cambodia,” Manhattan U.S. Lawyer Audrey Strauss stated in a press release. “With this motion, we reaffirm our dedication to ending the sale of illegally trafficked antiquities in the US, and start the method of returning Skanda on a Peacock to its rightful residence.”

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