An American museum has returned a 10th-century sandstone statue of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman to Cambodia, decades after it was looted from a jungle temple in the civil war.
The meter-high statue was stolen in the 1970s from the Koh Ker Temple site near the Angkor Wat complex.
The artwork, which had been in the possession of the Cleveland Museum of Art in the United States since 1982, was received by Cambodian officials on late Sunday night, an official said.
Buddhist monks chanted blessings and scattered flowers over the statue upon its arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport.
“We welcome back the statue of Hanuman,” said Chan Tani, Cambodian secretary of state for the Cabinet Office.
The museum agreed to return the artwork after negotiations, but Chan Tani did not say how the museum came to possess the artifact.
Last year, Cambodia received three ancient statues looted from the kingdom more than 40 years ago, including one, Duryodhana, retrieved after a long legal battle in the US.
In June 2013, two other 10th century Khmer era statues known as the Kneeling Attendants were returned. They were also looted in the 1970s from the Koh Ker temple site and were on show for 20 years at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The statues are considered of extraordinary value to the Cambodian people and their cultural heritage.
(China Daily 05/12/2015 page11)