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Statue of Golden Boy or King Jayavarman VI Arrives Safely in Thailand

Statue of Golden Boy or King Jayavarman VI Arrives Safely in Thailand

The bronze statue of the Hindu god Shiva adorned in regalia, also known as the “Golden Boy,” and a bronze statue of a seated woman with her hands raised above her head, both dating back 900 to 1,000 years, have arrived in Thailand from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. These artefacts are among several others that were taken from Thailand unlawfully.

A formal ceremony to welcome the artefacts will be held today (May 21), the Fine Arts Department announced on Monday. The return of these artefacts follows their connection to art dealer Douglas Latchford, who was accused of running an antiquities trafficking network in Southeast Asia. Latchford, indicted in 2019, consistently denied involvement in the smuggling and passed away the following year.

The repatriation effort reflects a collective acknowledgment of the importance of restoring cultural heritage to its rightful origins. The Fine Arts Department collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the repatriation, which was facilitated through the Royal Thai Consulate General in New York, with the US museum covering the return costs.

Experts from the Fine Arts Department traveled to the US on April 25 to examine the artefacts and discuss the repatriation schedule and details. Government deputy spokesperson Kenika Ounjit announced on May 14 that the Cabinet approved the transfer of the Golden Boy and the seated woman statue back to the National Museum Bangkok in Phra Nakhon district.

The Standing Shiva, or Golden Boy, is an important artefact for Thailand, with clear evidence showing it was taken from Prasat Ban Yang ruins in Buri Ram’s Lahan Sai district in the 1960s. Visitors can also admire a statue thought to be the “twin” of the Golden Boy at the National Museum Bangkok, as noted by the Phimai National Museum’s Facebook page.

This ongoing effort underscores the dedication to preserving and honoring Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.

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