Stolen 1,000-year-old artifacts returned to Thailand
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Stolen 1,000-year-old artifacts returned to Thailand

Stolen 1,000-year-old artifacts returned to Thailand
The Shiva image, left, and the woman figure (Photo: Fine Arts Department)

Two ancient bronze images, one of the Standing Shiva, were returned to Thailand on Monday by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Fine Arts Department director-general Phanombut Chantarachote confirmed the two figures arrived in Bangkok and were in the customs and examination process. The two artifacts were accompanied by curators  who were met by Thai counterparts. They would jointly carry out the examination, he said.

Nittaya Kanokmongkol, director of the Office of National Museums, said the two statues arrived at 7am and would later be taken to the Phra Nakhon National Museum. They would go on public display on Wednesday at the museum, which is near Sanam Luang.

The Standing Shiva, known as the Golden Boy, is a rare item. It has been dated back to the 11th century, and is 129 centimetres tall, gold-plated and portrayed in an elegant costume.

The other image is a kneeling woman, also dated from the 11th century. It is 43 centimetres tall and features elegant clothing along with traces of gold and silver decoration.

The New York museum earlier removed the two statues from display after learning they were among art smuggled by Douglas Latchford. The British antiques trader was charged with operating a major network that stole treasures from Southeast Asia in 2019.

It is not known when the New York museum obtained them.

The museum agreed last year to send them back to Thailand. The cost was met by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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