Home > Antiques/Antiquities, Asian Art, Auctions, International, Museums/Galleries, News/Events, Sculpture > The Story of a Tenth Century Khmer Warrior Statue

The Story of a Tenth Century Khmer Warrior Statue

Is it looted?

Is it better preserved in the hands of Western collectors and Museums?

Or should it be returned to it’s country of origin–Cambodia?

13COLLECTORjp1-popupThis is the story of who is a better steward of Cambodian art, whether it be the Cambodian government, or museums and private collectors from France and the United States.

An argument can be made, that without the preservation and help of the “École Française d’Extrême-Orient,” which is dedicated to the study of Asian cultures in the field of archaeology, many of the art pieces that are considered national patrimony would not have survived until today.

The Khmer warrior statue is said to have been removed from the temple site of Koh Ker some years ago, and is now being offered by Sotheby’s at auction. A foot of the statue still remains in situ.

The Cambodian government requests the statue to be returned to its place of origin. Lawyers of the United States government are looking into the merits of this case. There often seems to be a fine line between preserving a culture and striping it. In this case, if the government of Cambodia can look after this statue–and if it has been looted rather than legally removed–then it should be returned to Cambodia. However, there must be assurances for museums and private collectors that they can become the owners of works of art that they have legitimately paid for.


Elisabeth and Natasha


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