PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Cambodian leader Hun Sen unveiled a collection of stolen Angkor crown jewellery yesterday which was recently returned to the kingdom after decades in Britain, pleading for other long-lost treasures to be handed back.
Gold crowns, necklaces and amulets were among the trove of treasures from the Angkor period, which ran from the ninth to 14th centuries AD when the Khmer empire dominated vast parts of Southeast Asia.
The Cambodian culture ministry characterised the items – expected to go on display at the national museum – as “priceless cultural heritage”.
“I appeal to museums, institutions and Khmer artefact collectors to continue to return those items voluntarily to Cambodia,” Hun Sen told the ceremony.
“Heritage items should be returned to their country of origin.”
The culture ministry last month discreetly received 77 pieces from the family of the late, disgraced British art dealer Douglas Latchford.
Two 10th-Century sculptures recently returned by the United States (US) were also displayed yesterday.