THAILAND: Ancient artifacts that were smuggled out of Thailand decades ago and ended up on display at a museum in the United States will be shipped back to Thailand. The 2 hand-carved lintels, each weighing more than 680 kilograms, were stolen from temples in Buri Ram and Sa Kaeo Prasat Khao Lon. It is believed that the ancient artifacts date back to 975-1025 AD.
The lintels were on display in The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco since the late 60s. The treasured artifacts came into light when the Thai Consul-General saw them on display in the Museum in 2016.
“Two key 11th-century stone lintels from Buri Ram’s Prasat Nong Hong and Sa Kaew’s Prasat Khao Lon, which were part of the permanent collection of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco are currently waiting for release in line with US laws,” The Fine Arts Department (FAD) Director-General Prateep Phengtako had said.
The civil complaint was filed to return the two artifacts back to Thailand. Since the museum failed to find the documents showing proper export of the lintels, it was asked to do the right thing. The case closed early and it was announced that the artifacts would be returned to Thailand soon.
The lintels are expected to return to their home country soon after the items are removed from the museum’s list, the spokesman said.