Saturday 17 March 2018
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Cleveland Museum Returns Ancient Statue to Cambodia

Cleveland Museum Returns Ancient Statue to Cambodia

The statue of a kneeling Hindu deity with human and monkey features, above, believed stolen from a jungle-shrouded Khmer temple more than 40 years ago, has been returned to Cambodia by the Cleveland Museum of Art, which had displayed it since 1982, officials said on Monday.

The return, on Sunday night, brings to six the number of looted statues from the 10th-century Prasat Chen temple in Preah Vihear Province, in northern Cambodia near the Thai border, that have been recovered by the government since 2012, when reports surfaced that the rare sandstone sculptures were in the United States.

Those items include two large Kneeling Attendants returned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013; a massive statue known as Duryodhana returned by Sotheby’s last year after the intervention of federal officials; a companion statue of the Duryodhana, known as Bhima, returned by the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif., last year; and a smaller statue from the temple, Pandava, relinquished by Christie’s in May 2014.

Cambodian officials have sought the return of the latest item, known as Hanuman, for two years. Last May, a Cleveland museum official, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, told The Plain Dealer newspaper, “So far, based on my extensive fieldwork in Cambodia earlier this year, I can report that I did not find any physical evidence to confirm that the Cleveland Hanuman is from Prasat Chen.”

In a statement on Monday, the museum said physical evidence linking the statue to a pedestal at Koh Ker combined with provenance research in Thailand led officials to change their minds.

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