As part of a deal with antiquities dealer Douglas Latchford’s estate, Cambodia received more than 70 artifacts stolen from the country.
The items were previously stored in London and returned as part of an agreement with Latchford’s estate. The estate was overseen by the Latchford’s daughter and legal heir Nawapan Kriangsak ever since the dealer’s death in 2020. The estate returned 77 items of ancient gold jewelry deriving from the Angkor Empire. The items were officially accepted by the country’s culture ministry representatives in Phnom Penh on Monday.
The return was part of a larger deal that was negotiated over 3 years between Cambodia and Latchford’s estate. In February last year, exactly a year ago, the deal was made public and the first transaction saw the repatriation of a collection of Khmer antiquities worth $50 million, which are suspected to contain looted and smuggled items. Latchford was charged in 2019 with selling artifacts with falsified ownership records.
The Angkorian items returned this week include a gold hammered crown, headdress, necklaces, and earrings, among other wares. The objects are believed to have been taken from ancient temples and burial grounds between the 1970s and early 2000s when the country was in the midst of genocide and political unrest.
The latest tranche of returns comes as Cambodian officials continue to push the Met to repatriate artifacts from its collection that have ties to Latchford. The museum said in August that it is in discussions with federal officials about a potential agreement to return Cambodian items with suspect provenance records.