Five lost Cambodian artifacts returned to Cambodia from Britain

The stone sculpture of Shiva and Skanda which will be among the items from Latchford's collection which will be returned to Cambodia. - Matthew Hollow/Royal Government of Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua): Five lost Cambodian artifacts, handed over by the family of the late antique collector Douglas Latchford, have been returned to Cambodia from Britain, a Cambodian spokesman said on Thursday (Sept 30).

"In the initial stage, five Cambodian masterpieces were returned from the United Kingdom to their homeland Cambodia on Wednesday evening," Culture and Fine Arts Ministry's secretary of state and spokesman Hab Touch told Xinhua.

The five returned artifacts included a stone sculpture of Shiva and Skanda, a half male and half female deity, a male deity, a Prajnaparamita statue, and a bronze boat prow, he said.

"The five statues are now safely stored at the National Museum in Phnom Penh," Touch said.

He added that experts will evaluate, clean, and repair those antiquities as well as install necessary pedestals for them in preparation for an official handover ceremony at an appropriate time.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the five artifacts are among a total of over 100 lost Cambodian stone and bronze antiquities that the family of Latchford agreed to return to Cambodia following an agreement reached on Sept. 18, 2020.

The family of Latchford decided to give his entire extraordinary collection of Cambodian antiquities back to the Southeast Asian nation after three years of negotiations.

Those cultural objects date back as far as the sixth century to the post-Angkor period, the ministry said.

Touch said the remaining antiquities will arrive in Cambodia in different stages.

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