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Culture Ministry calls for return of ancient Thai artefacts from US museums


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Culture Ministry calls for return of ancient Thai artefacts from US museums




The Culture Ministry is calling for the return of an 11th-century stone lintel that originated at Prasat Khao Lon in Buri Ram province but is being held in the permanent collection of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.


THE CULTURE MINISTRY is expediting the process seeking the return of more than 100 ancient Thai artefacts from overseas.

“The ministry’s ad hoc committee has called for the repatriation of 23 artefacts that originated in Thailand from leading US museums,” said Minister of Culture Veera Rojpojchanarat at a press conference yesterday at Bangkok’s National Museum.


“After a one-year investigation, the ministry’s urgent task aims to bring back five stone architectural artefacts, including two prominent 11th-century stone lintels from Prasat Nong Hong in Buri Ram and Prasat Khao Lon in Sa Kaew, which are currently in the permanent collections of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco,” Fine Art Department director Anan Chuchote said.


There are also 18 Buddha statues and sculptures that are currently in permanent collections at leading museums, including New York’s Metropolitan Art Museum, the Asian Art Museum and Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.


“One of masterpieces includes an eighth-century bronze preaching Buddha statue called Avalokitesvara from Prasat Hin Khao Bat II in Buri Ram. It is currently in a permanent collection at the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York,” archaeologist Tanongsak Hanwong, a member of the ad hoc committee, told The Nation.


There are also 14 artefacts currently in the possession of the Honolulu Museum of Art in Hawaii. These items include a prehistoric bell made of bronze and Buddha statues from the Dvaravati and Ayutthaya eras.


The US Department of Homeland Security has called for cooperation with Thailand to verify 69 other artefacts, all from the prehistoric age and believed to originate from Thailand, which are currently stored in museums in the United States.


There are also 13 prehistoric artefacts, including Baan Chiang pottery, owned by American collector Katherine Ayers-Mannix, who intends to return her collection to the Thai government.


Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry is in the process of verifying 10 more artefacts currently in the possession of the Norton Simon Museum in California.


Thailand has successfully called for the repatriation of heritage from the US in past decades.


In 2014, the US government returned more than 500 artefacts looted from Ban Chiang, originating from the prehistoric period, which were in possession of the Bowers Museum in Santa Anna, California.


That was the most significant return of ancient treasures since the Art Institute of Chicago returned the Narai stone lintel in 1988.


Meanwhile, Thailand also returned cultural heritage to neighbouring counties. In 2015, Thailand repatriated 16 Cambodian artefacts recovered from smugglers in 1999. In 2009, Thailand repatriated seven other sculptures from the same 1999 seizure.


Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30338350

-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-02-09
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6 hours ago, jonclark said:

If the dates for these artifacts is true wouldn't that make them Khmer and not Thai cultural property? 


Thailand was not even in exisistance in the 11th century.




Under current protocols it is "claimable" by the state which has sovereignty over the territory in which/from which it originated or was "discovered".


Cambodia has absolutely no interest in claiming this artifact.


Roman, Viking and Norman artifacts discovered in the UK are the property of the UK...not Italy, Norway or France.


An WW2 RAF aircraft found in Egypt (notionally independent but actually under British Imperial control during WW2) a few years ago was (and is) recognised by the UK as being the property of Egypt.....in accordance with the same protocols which make this particular artifact claimable by Thailand....not Cambodia







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How and when were these things stolen?  Was it when America was pretending to be Thailands friend when they were bombing the shit out of Vietnam and Cambodia and using there Air bases So when were they stolen? Anybody have any idea and how did they get them out of the country? Then again thinking about it you could walk an elephant past immigration here and get it out of the country if you pay the right price.

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