Khmer sculpture handed back to Cambodia

An attempt to smuggle it was thwarted in the US

A 12th-century Khmer sculpture has been returned to Cambodia by US officials. The sandstone head of a Hindu celestial dancer was seized by US customs officials earlier this year in Irvine, California. It was smuggled out of Cambodia by a Bangkok-based, Thai national who was arrested by Thai police for using the internet to auction Cambodian and Thai antiquities as well as dinosaur fossils. A 2003 agreement between the US and Cambodia imposes restrictions on the import of Cambodian artefacts.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 183 September 2007