Cambodian sculpture case will go to trial

Sotheby's sale halted as Cambodia demands its return

Sotheby’s has lost a motion to dismiss a claim regarding a 10th-century sandstone sculpture (below, the base in situ) that was withdrawn from auction in New York in March 2011. The consignor bought it in London in 1975, before Cambodia nationalised cultural heritage. It was pulled from sale in the US after the Cambodian authorities requested its return. Judge George Daniels found for the US Attorney’s Office, which argued that the statue was stolen. The case will now go to trial. Daniel McClean, a consultant to the law firm Howard Kennedy Fsi, which advised the US authorities, said: “We look forward to trial. [Our clients] are seeking forfeiture… and return.”

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 246 May 2013