Antiquities of 28 Cambodian cultural artifacts looted by US private collector will return to Cambodia


Digital Desk, Phnom Penh. Cambodia says a US private collector has agreed to return 28 looted Cambodian cultural artifacts. The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts said in a press statement on Wednesday that one of the antiquities is a large Ganesha idol, believed to be from the Prasat Bak temple in Koh Ker temple.

In 2020, it was listed as one of the top 10 most looted statues in the world by the Antiquities Coalition, the statement said. Cambodia’s Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, Phourang Sakona, said in a statement that this Ganesha statue is yet another astonishing example of the genius of our ancestors. The elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesha is widely known for his wisdom and power to overcome obstacles and his return home will be a momentous occasion for Cambodia.

Other artifacts include a sandstone Buddha statue from the seventh-eighth century, the 10th-century Hindu god Vishnu and the 10th-century bronze statue of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, Xinhua news agency reported. He said the repatriation reflects Cambodia’s continued commitment to find and bring back the souls of our ancestors, who had fled their homeland over the years during the war period.

We encourage other private collectors and museums to follow this private collector’s decision and contact us to discuss repatriation to the rightful owner, the minister said.