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Antique Cambodian Art Returned by US Authorities: "The Soul of Our Culture"

Cambodia's ambassador to the United States said on Monday that the transfer of 30 antiques to the country by US law enforcement would mean the return of "the soul of our culture." said it is.

Ambassador Keotia spoke at a ceremony in which the 10th-century sculpture ``Skanda on a Peacock'' was one of several works of art on display, and US and Cambodian officials said: He explained the impact of the return of 30 antiquities on the world. Southeast Asian country.

"It's like the soul of our culture comes back to our people," he said Chea. ``We are very grateful.''

Chhea praised the US-Cambodia cooperation for making the repatriation of the artifacts possible, but they continue to call it a ``global problem''. said he was fighting with

To prevent further looting and to stop looting of valuable works of art with the tools used by looters, which sometimes resulted in pieces of sculpture being cut off, he said, "We committed , we need to keep fighting,” he added.

According to U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, some sculptures are too heavy, including his 10th-century one depicting the Hindu elephant god Ganesha weighing more than three tons. I couldn't bring it to the ceremony.

Surrounded by Cambodian antiquities, Cambodian ambassador to the United States Keo Chhea speaks during a news conference in New York.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The instability of Cambodia ruled by the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in the 1990s.

According to Mr. Williams, an organized looting network, including looters affiliated with the Khmer Rouge, sent the statue to Douglas Latchford, a prominent antiques dealer, who sent the statue to Douglas Latchford. sold to Western merchants, collectors and institutions.

Ambassador Keo Chhea spoke at a ceremony where a 10th-century sculpture, “Skanda on a Peacock,” was among several pieces of art displayed.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
The art was taken during a long period of civil war and instability in Cambodia.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Latchford before being extradited to the United States to face charges of wire fraud conspiracy and other crimes in federal court in Manhattan. deceased, prosecutors said. The indictment was eventually dismissed due to his death.

Some of the sandstone and bronze sculptures and artefacts were given up by their owners when they were told they were stolen by US authorities, Williams said. Others were claimed through court proceedings. They ranged from the Bronze Age to his twelfth century.

"We are committed to doing the right thing, and after learning about the origins of the antiquities in our possession, we voluntarily decide to return them to their home countries. I applaud you," Williams said. "We would like to encourage anyone who believes they have obtained antiquities in Cambodia or elsewhere to come forward."