Five-century-old gold crown of a Buddha statue returned to Thailand from US

Thailand has recently received an antique gold crown, part of a Buddha statue believed to be about 500 years old, from the United States, with the help of the Department of Homeland Security, according to Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome.

The crown was made of 95% pure gold in the Lanna art form to decorate a stone-sculpted Buddha statue, a popular practice during the period as a religious offering. The crown itself weighs about 42.6g.

The antique crown is now being kept at the National Museum in Bangkok by the Fine Arts Department for study prior to being exhibited in the future, said the minister.

He went on to say that officials from the US Homeland Security Department have been investigating some bronze sculptures, believed to originate from the Prakon Chai archaeological site in Thailand’s north-eastern province of Buri Ram, which are currently on display at the Denver Art Museum, with a possibility that the sculptures may be returned to Thailand.

The minister said that he would prefer the US Department of Homeland Security to settle all the legal matters before the antique sculptures are sent back to Thailand.

Itthiphol hailed the achievements of a committee, set up by the government about five years ago to track artefacts which had been smuggled out of Thailand and have them returned, and the cooperation of the US Department of Homeland Security in the return to Thailand of such items, including the two Khmer lintels from the Asian Art Museum in the US last year.

The two Khmer lintels returned from the US are to be put on display at the at the information centres of Prasat Sadok Kok Thom historical park in Sa Kaeo province and at the Phnom Rung historical park in Buri Ram province.

Up to 164 items of ancient pottery returned are currently being exhibited at the National Museum.



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