US museum returns 10th century Khmer statue to Cambodia

By on March 28, 2016

Torso of Rama. (Photo: Denver Art Museum)
Torso of Rama.
(Photo: Denver Art Museum)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia—Cambodia has welcomed home a 10th-century Khmer statue it says was looted during the country’s civil war and spent the past three decades at an American museum.

The sandstone Torso of Rama statue was formally handed over Monday at a ceremony in Phnom Penh. It was attended by government officials, the US ambassador and the director of the Denver Museum of Art, which acquired the statue in 1986.

Cambodian Secretary of State Chan Thani thanked the museum for voluntarily returning the piece, which he said shows the museum’s sensitivity to Cambodian culture and “also highlights the serious looting in the past that had occurred in our country and the government’s efforts to repatriate those artifacts that left the country illegally which are parts of our soul as a nation.”