Looted Cambodian sculptures returning home from US1 min read . Updated: 11 Jun 2013, 07:45 PM IST
The Metropolitan Museum announced in May that the Khmer sculptures would be sent back after 20 years on display in its Asian Wing
Phnom Penh: Two 10th century statues that Cambodia says were looted from a jungle temple several decades ago are set to arrive home on Tuesday from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, in what the kingdom described as a “historic" moment.
The Met announced in May that the Khmer sculptures, known as the “Kneeling Attendants", would be sent back after 20 years on display in its Asian Wing.
A religious ceremony will be held at the airport in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on Tuesday to welcome them home, Hab Touch, director general at the Ministry of Culture, told AFP.
The two statues were stolen from the Koh Ker temple site, located 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat complex, in the early 1970s, he added. At the time the country was in the midst of a brutal civil war and looting was rampant.
They were donated piece by piece to the Metropolitan Museum in the late 1980s and 1990s and were considered legal. However, the Met said last month that it had come into possession of new documentary research that was not available when the objects were acquired.