The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is currently in the news for indicting former President Donald Trump, but it also continues to repatriates looted and stolen antiquities.
On March 31, the office of Alvin L. Bragg Jr. announced the repatriation of the Khmer Lintel, an 11th century structural element that was looted from Cambodia during the 1990s and smuggled into Thailand. The Khmer lintel formed the support for a temple door and featured carvings of celestial deities dancing together, known as apsaras in Hindu and Buddhist cultures.
According to the DA’s office, after the lintel arrived in Bangkok, it was sold by a local dealer to an American collector and remained in a private collection in Manhattan until its seizure last October.
“This is a beautiful piece that has been sitting in a private collection and hidden from the public view due to the actions of selfish looters,” Bragg said in a statement. “We will continue to make clear that stolen antiquities passing through Manhattan will be tracked down and returned to their countries of origin.”
The District Attorney’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit has received a lot of press attention for the sheer volume of its recovery work, which includes several recent seizures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the repatriation of more than 950 items valued at approximately $180 million.