Smuggled Thai lintels to be returned next March

Smuggled Thai lintels to be returned next March

Two ancient lintels — believed to have been stolen from Prasat Nong Hong historical sanctuary in Buri Ram, pictured above, and from Prasat Khao Lon historical sanctuary in Sa Kaeo, below — are expected to be returned from a museum in San Francisco to Thailand in March next year. photos from the Department of Fine Arts
Two ancient lintels — believed to have been stolen from Prasat Nong Hong historical sanctuary in Buri Ram, pictured above, and from Prasat Khao Lon historical sanctuary in Sa Kaeo, below — are expected to be returned from a museum in San Francisco to Thailand in March next year. photos from the Department of Fine Arts

Two ancient lintels previously on show at a museum in the United States are expected to be returned to Thailand in March next year, according to the Department of Fine Arts (DFA).

The two lintels in question -- one which had previously adorned the Prasat Khao Lon historical sanctuary in Sa Kaeo and the other belonging to Prasat Nong Hong in Buri Ram -- are awaiting legal clearance before they are sent back to Thailand, said DFA director-general Prateep Pengtako.

The lintels were earlier exhibited at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

After it was ascertained that the two artefacts were the property of the Thai government, they were removed from display.

Mr Prateep said the lintels are expected to be shipped back to Thailand in March next year.

According to the department, the Foreign Affairs Ministry had written to the US Department of Homeland Security seeking the return of the lintels.

The ministry supplied the department with documentary evidence verifying the lintels' origin in Thailand and alleging they had been smuggled out of the country.

The government has assigned the DFA and the Culture Ministry to work with the Foreign Ministry in tracking smuggled artefacts and securing their return.



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