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Date: 2007-06-10 10:40
Subject: Khmer art
Security: Public
clipped from www.economist.com

Khmer art

Gods on display

Jun 7th 2007
From The Economist print edition

An exciting exhibition in Berlin awakes a plea for the return of stolen treasures

With the Phnom Penh collection now recognised as a great repository of Khmer art, might some collectors consider repatriating at least part of their booty to its rightful place? Many possessors of stolen Khmer art argue that it is safer in their hands than it would be in Cambodia, but this may no longer be the case. Where, for a start, is Uma's head?

Unfortunately, as a star statue in Berlin shows, possessions of the National Museum in Phnom Penh were not always safe, either. A well-girthed Shiva, clasping a lotus in one outstretched hand, and his diminutive wife, Uma, in the other is placed prominently in one of the Berlin rooms. But Uma's head is missing. The Berlin curators don't say so on their description, but her head was stolenâ”literally hacked offâ”when the piece was on show at the Phnom Penh museum in the 1970s.

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