Connect with us

Thailand

1000 year old stolen lintels will arrive in Thailand tomorrow night

Neill Fronde

Published 

 on 

Two ancient stolen Thai lintels will arrive home after 6 decades tomrrow. (via Royal Thai Consulate Facebook)

Two ancient stolen lintels from Thailand’s Khmer past, dated around the 11th century, are returning to Thailand after being smuggled out of Thailand during the Vietnam War. A lintel (don’t worry, we had to Google it too) is the top beam or arch of a doorway structure, and this artefact from the Lopburi period was carved from sandstone about 1000 years ago. A repatriation ceremony was held at the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Los Angeles to commemorate the return of the priceless ancient art, scheduled to arrive back in Thailand about 10 pm tomorrow.

One lintel was from the Prasat Nong Hong in Buriram with a hand carving of Yama Deity. The other lintel, depicting Indra Deity on Kirtimukha, or the glorious face, was from the Prasat Khao Lon in Sa Kaew province. Photographic evidence shows the stolen lintels in their original homes within each of these temples before it is believed they were smuggled out of Thailand in the shadows of the war in Vietnam.

The stolen lintels each weigh about 680 kilogrammes and were stolen and sold to European antie merchants in the late 1960s, later sold to an anonymous antique trader for about $15,000 each according to the director-general of Thailand’s Fine Arts Department. The Nong Hong lintel was donated to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco in 1966 and the Khao Lon lintel was purchased 2 years later by the museum.

Upon arriving in Thailand, the ancient artefacts will be closely examined by experts and then transferred to the Bangkok National Museum on Monday to be put on display in Issara Vinijchai Throne Hall, the museum’s main hall. The opening will be attended by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, but the date has not been confirmed due to Covid-19.

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Investigation joined the consulate to officially return the stolen lintels to Thailand after 6 decades apart. Special agents from the HSI joined Consul-Generals from Thai Embassies in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, as well as the Thai ambassador to the US for the ceremony.

The Thai ambassador gave a speech thanking all agencies involved in the return and sharing the hope that it will open the gates to the recovery of other ancient Thai antiquities. The HSI also spoke of the importance of returning antiquities that hold historical, archaeological and cultural importance to their rightful countries and to museums, stating that the organisation has aided in repatriating over 13,000 artefacts and antiquities.

The investigation took more than 3 years to track down and gather evidence before the recovery of the priceless ancient artefacts. It began with a group of local Thais investigating about 300 bronze artefacts and stumbled onto the stolen lintels. The Thai consulate expressed thanks to the US agencies involved and the long friendly relationship between the two countries.

SOURCE: Royal Thai Embassy Los Angeles, Bangkok Post, and Thai PBS World

 

Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Thaiger Talk Forums.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    A good precedent set here.ive seen plenty of decapitated buhdda statue’s in this part of the world and many crudely hacked off buhdda heads in many western museums.

  2. Avatar

    Robin Banks

    Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    You didn’t know what a lintel was??!! OMG!! Such a lack of general knowledge… and you report on things of importance! God help us!

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    Is there any proof that they were stolen.
    Perhaps a farmer sold them for B2000.
    If that is the case they were not stolen.

  4. Avatar

    Slugger

    Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    Thieving Yanks should pay restitution too. No history except destruction so they steal other people’s.

  5. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    Actually Slugger there is no mention in this article or past ones of the American’s stealing the artifacts. The items came to the museum of art in SF legitimately from European sources. Like most CCP apologists, you never bother to let facts get in the way of a good anti-western rant. That aside, it’s wonderful that Thailand is finally getting them back. I’ve visited Prasat Nong Hong. It’s not a place you visit Buriram to go see, but it is very nice way to spend the day if you are visiting Buriram.

  6. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    Plenty of tea leafin brits about also,one trip to the british museum should put you right on that score squire.

  7. Avatar

    Nigel

    Friday, May 28, 2021 at 3:54 am

    @Mr Cynic. There are no stolen items in the British museum. There are plenty of items some local corrupt leader or local sold items to the British. Host to clear up any confusion

  8. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Friday, May 28, 2021 at 5:55 am

    Nigel,the government and people of Nigeria completely disagree with you,they seem to be of exactly the same opinion as me.
    Would you also like to enlighten me about how the items from the opium wars ended up there and well your at it explain exactly the items from the taklamakan desert that are stored in vaults under the museum and never put on public display legitimately turned up in london because it all looks rather like theft to me .

  9. Avatar

    p grahame

    Friday, May 28, 2021 at 7:52 am

    These are khmer lintels, nothing to do with Thais, there were no Thais 1000 years ago

  10. Avatar

    dee lee

    Friday, May 28, 2021 at 8:20 am

    Nigel , were the elgin horses stolen , gifted or simply flew by themselves to the british museum ?
    BTW , no one stole or approprieted more artifacts from everywhere in the world than the english

  11. Avatar

    kerryd

    Friday, May 28, 2021 at 9:58 am

    They are lintels from Khmer era temples located in what is now Thailand, which were stolen and smuggled out of Thailand approx 45-50 years ago.

    Much of the Thai population, especially in the central and eastern regions, can probably trace their origins to the Khmer, who ruled much of what is now Thailand.
    At one point the Khmer empire stretched as far west as Kanchanaburi, north to Sukhothai and most of Eastern Thailand (and parts of what are now Laos and Vietnam).

    The “Tai” people migrated from China/Northern Vietnam between the 8-10th centuries CE, which, coincidentally is also when the Khmer were expanding their empire.
    There is little doubt that the 2 cultures inter-mingled, a lot, over the centuries before the Khmer empire converted to Buddhism and then quietly disappeared.

    I have visited over 50 ancient Khmer sites in Thailand, some of which are little more than a few laterite stones sticking out of the dirt, some of which are crumbling remains and some of which have been magnificently restored (well, some have been restored in a somewhat haphazard fashion which most people wouldn’t notice).

    The lintels are a critical part of the temple as they usually identify who the temple was dedicated to and perhaps some other figures. The style and artistry also help to date the temple.

    Prasat Khao Lon is a crumbling ruin with just a single prang (of the 4 originals) still standing. A long, rough stone path leads up to it and the prang is fortified with braces to keep it from toppling over.
    Prasat Nong Hong is a much larger site located in Non Din Daeng. It is in much better condition and better maintained than Khao Lon. Most of the original structure is still in place (doesn’t appear that a lot of reconstruction was required).

    Theft of artifacts from temples has been going on ever since they were built, but really took off in the 50/60s/70s as more people, with more money, took an interest in collecting rare and unique artifacts, usually for their private collections.
    Usually, the original thieves/buyers have long been forgotten by the time the artifacts are discovered and how the current owners acquired them is often murky at best.

    And yes, that includes a lot of everything in the British Museum as well. All that stuff from Egypt and Persia didn’t just appear there magically, no matter how many “Mummy” movies you may have seen.

    Trying reading the bit about the controversies of the British Museum:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Museum#Artefacts_taken_from_other_countries

  12. Avatar

    Marinus Pemen

    Friday, May 28, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Robin BanksThursday, May 27, 2021 at 5:12 pm
    You didn’t know what a lintel was??!! OMG!! Such a lack of general knowledge… and you report on things of importance! God help us

    Maybe there are some things that you don’t know the meaning from. Don’t take Your lack of knowledge out on other people. If you don’t have anything better to say ,Please Shut Up.

  13. Avatar

    BIGGGGG Mike

    Friday, May 28, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    Reading Covid news is getting old already. Im happy to read news pieces such as this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Tourism8 hours ago

Pattaya October reopening hampered by obstacles

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Thong Lor again: 31 arrested in club violating Covid-19 rules

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Pfizer vaccine application received, review process begun

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Visa13 hours ago

Covid-19 prevention leads to 14 arrests of longterm overstays

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 3,277 new infections and 29 deaths, provincial totals

Thailand14 hours ago

Red tape and restrictions suggest a slow Phuket reopening

Phuket14 hours ago

UPDATE: Tourism Minister reportedly says July 1 ‘sandbox’ won’t happen

Tourism15 hours ago

Koh Samui eyes August 1 reopening, “Samui Sealed Route”

Weather16 hours ago

Village need rain? Have you considered a giant penis?

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 3,277 new infections and 29 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

8.3% of Thailand’s 50 million vaccine target reached so far

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Site launched for June 14 vaccine signup for all foreigners

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Free quarantine accommodation for arriving Thais to be cancelled

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | Sandbox – bar, clubs closed? Local AZ problems, Sex toy arrest | June 11

Drugs1 day ago

UN report: Changes in Southeast Asia drug trafficking during the pandemic

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending