Saturday, 4 August 2018

Thailand is seeking the return of Illicit items from museums in the United States

Thailand is seeking the return from museums in the United States of a number of items that were taken illegally from the country, and has been gathering evidence to back its claims. These include nine ancient Buddhist relics that are on display at the Norton Simon Museum in California, as well as 17 other relics on display at the Honolulu Museum of Art in Hawaii. Thai officials are also providing evidence to prove that two ancient lintels on display at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco were stolen from ancient temples in Thailand's northeastern provinces of Buriram and Sa Kaeo. The two lintels are no longer on display as the claims and effort to recall the items are being considered.
The U.S. government in 2014 returned 554 ancient artifacts, mostly pottery, that had been taken from Ban Chiang, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The pieces were recovered in a 2008 raid on the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, which agreed to return the items to Thailand in exchange for none of its staff facing criminal charges.  The raid was part of a multiyear investigation in which three other California museums and two private art dealerships were also raided. Several people accused of being part of a network smuggling art from Southeast Asia were arrested.
The Associated Press, 'US Art Collector Returns 12 Ancient Artifacts to Thailand' New York Times Aug. 3, 2018

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