The Fact News Service,
Bangkok, May 29,
Two ancient sandstone artefacts believed to have been stolen from Thailand during the Vietnam War are set to return from the United States, officials say. The temple support beams with their exquisite carvings of the Hindu deities Indra and Yama date back to the late 10th or 11th century and had been on a show for decades at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.
Thai Fine Arts Department Director-General Prateep Pengtako said the two lintels are about 1,000 years old and show the influence of the ancient Khmer Kingdom, which had its capital in modern-day Cambodia. Lintels are part of the structure of ancient Cambodian temples. The lintels were assessed to be taken away sometime between 1958 and 1969. In particular, 1965-66 saw a lot of Thai artefacts go missing. The lintels were among 133 Thai artefacts on display at museums and galleries in the US.
The return of these antiquities holds great importance in terms of history, archaeology, and culture to the Thai Government and the Thai people,” the Thai foreign ministry said, after a handover ceremony earlier this week between US authorities and the Royal Thai Consulate General in Los Angeles.
It is believed that both of the sacred lintels were illegally exported from Thailand around the 1960s during the Vietnam War. The repatriation comes after a three-year investigation by the US Department of Homeland Security.