Looted statue comes home

By: Taing Vida

A 10th-century statue depicting the Hindu god Hanuman was returned to Cambodia yesterday after evidence arose that the sculpture was stolen from the remote Prasat Chen temple during the Kingdom’s civil war.

The sandstone statue of the monkey king was likely looted in the 1970s and was a part of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection since 1982.

Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers Chan Tani said at a press conference yesterday that the sculpture’s return demonstrates the historical significance of the Koh Ker temple complex and highlights the rampant looting that has taken place in the country.

“During the 1970s, due to our security issues, a lot of valuable sculptures were stolen,” he said. “[These] sculptures represent the soul of the nation.”

Tani added that the piece will be restored over the next year.

“Hanuman will be taken for repairs,” he said. “We can see from some sculptures handed over that some are broken – with no head, or some body parts damaged – so we need to repair them. We will then exhibit them at the [National] Museum.”

SOURCE: THE PHNOM PENH POST