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Provenance Problems and Repatriation – A Precedent

A couple of weeks ago I noted an interesting NY Times story about how provenance problems had led the Metropolitan Museum in NYC to decide to return a statue to Cambodia. There is a fascinating followup story in the May 16 NY Times ("From Jungle to Museum, and Back") that adds some additional twists to this story.

Careful research by some French scholars shows that several pieces from the same site were stolen and then found their way to different museums in Denver, Cleveland, and Pasadena (there are some very comvincing photos and diagrams in the story). Now that the Metropolitan Museum in NY is returning its piece, it will be interesting to see if the other museums do the same given this compelling evidence.

-bob glushko

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