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Country of Origin: Thailand
Museum: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; Norton Simon Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Thailand has stepped up its efforts to reclaim bronze and stone sculptures that have been in US museum collections for decades. The Kingdom of Thailand’s culture minister announced last week that the country is seeking the return of 23 antiquities, some of which have been housed in the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art since the late 1960s.

The Met’s sculpture of the four-armed Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion, which the museum purchased in 1967, is among the artifacts that Thailand is reportedly claiming.

Thailand is also seeking the return of carved stone lintels from temples in Northern Thailand, which are now in the collection of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. They include one acquired by Avery Brundage, the Chicago industrialist and former president of the US Olympic Committee, who donated his vast collection to San Francisco in the 1950s and 60s on the condition that the city build a museum to house it.” – Artnet


“Details on the majority of the artworks sought by Thailand were not publicly announced by the culture minister. However, Rojpojchanarat stated that included among the eighteen sculptures that the ministry is seeking is a spectacular 8th century bronze sculpture of Avaloketeshvara which was acquired in 1967 by the Metropolitan Museum in New York. It appears that many of the sculptures are from caches discovered by peasants approximately sixty years ago in sites in northern Thailand. Based on the accession dates of the identified items and on studies published by Asian art scholar Emma C. Bunker in 1971-72 and 2002, these sculptures appear to have been dispersed to private and museum collections around the world within a few years of their discovery.” – Cultural Property News