New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is returning 16 ancient artifacts that were stolen from Cambodia and Thailand during periods of war and unrest. The Met complied with an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York and Homeland Security to determine the origins of these artifacts, finding that art dealer Douglas A.J. Latchford was responsible for smuggling the antiques and selling them to the museum. 14 of the pieces are going to Cambodia and two to Thailand, and the majority of them are ancient statues. The most notable pieces are a 10th century goddess statue from Cambodia’s Koh Ker archaeological site, and a stone Buddha head from the 7th century. Met officials say they will adapt their collecting practices moving forward to assure that no stolen goods are acquired, and that they are committed to deepening the world’s appreciation for Khmer art.
Image via NPR
Read other stories from the 12/25/23 newsletter: