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US to return stolen ancient statue to Cambodia

Published on May 8, 2014 9:26 AM
Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a ceremony held to commemorate the return of the Duryodhana (left, in photograph), a 10th Century sandstone sculpture, to Cambodia on May 7, 2014 at the US Attorney's office in New York. -- PHOTO: AFP 

NEW YORK (AFP) - An ancient statue of a warrior stolen in 1972 and which almost went on the auction block three years ago will be returned to Cambodia, US authorities said on Wednesday.

The 10th-century sandstone "Duryodhana bondissant" was stolen from the Prasat Chen temple at Koh Ker in Cambodia and first sold at auction in London in 1975.

It was supposed to have come back on the auction block at Sotheby's in New York in March 2011 but the sale was stopped after Cambodian authorities made an appeal through UNESCO.

The Koh Ker site is significant from a religious, historical, and artistic perspective, and the Duryodhana is considered a piece of extraordinary value to the Cambodian people and part of their cultural heritage.

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