The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has handed nine wooden Buddha statues donated by an Australian national over to the Fine Arts Department, according to a post published on Thurday on the ministry's website. The small wood carvings each measure 10 to 15 centimetres in height.
Australian Murray Upton informed the Royal Thai Embassy in Canberra that he had inherited them from his father, who had been in possession of them since 1911.
A handover ceremony took place at the ministry yesterday. During the event, Nathapol Khantahiran, deputy permanent secretary for foreign affairs, and Sathaporn Thiangtham, deputy director-general of the Fine Arts Department, represented their respective organisations.
The ceremony was part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Fine Arts Department's mission to repatriate Thai antiquities.
The ministry expressed its appreciation to the Fine Arts Department and to the Ministry of Culture for their long-standing cooperation in bringing Thai artefacts home.
In addition, it said it would like to thank Mr Upton for recognising the importance of Thai antiquities and making the generous donation.
After the ceremony, the department said it would take the statues to be properly identified and inspected before finding a suitable place to house them.