Send our relics home, pleads minister

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The Culture Ministry sought the return of the artifacts after discovering they were to be put up for sale. Supplied

The Cambodian government is calling on people around the world to follow the lead of a London art dealer and hand over any valuable relics they might have from the country’s past.
A priceless set of antiques from the Angkor era was delivered to the Cambodian Embassy in London on Thursday. It contained Khmer jewelry and sandstone statues and was voluntarily delivered by the Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art gallery.
Culture and Fine Arts Minister Phoeung Sakona said the return of the Khmer antiques reflected their unique cultural value and she called on individuals, museums and institutions around the world to voluntarily hand over such artifacts to Cambodia.
She said, “Cambodia considers that this valuable act not only helps to promote the culture of our nation but also contributes to the reconciliation and psychological healing of Cambodian people who suffered under a prolonged civil war and in particular, the victims of torture and tragedy at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.”
Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts Secretary of State Thai Norak Satya paid tribute to the gallery’s cooperation and respect for Cambodian culture. He said the Embassy in London is completing the legal requirements and packaging for the received antiques to be sent home.
Mr. Norak Satya said the gallery had announced plans last November to display and sell Indian and Southeast Asian artifacts and these included various Khmer items mentioned in a 2008 book “Khmer Gold: Gilts for Gods”.  
The Culture Ministry immediately asked the gallery to withdraw the items from sale and send them home to Cambodia instead.

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