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Thailand welcomes home trafficked 1,000-year-old statues returned by New York's Metropolitan Museum

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Thailand welcomes home trafficked 1,000-year-old statues returned by New York's Metropolitan Museum
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Thailand welcomes home trafficked 1,000-year-old statues returned by New York's Metropolitan Museum

2024-05-22 08:57 Last Updated At:09:00

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The objects — a tall bronze figure called the Standing Shiva or Golden Boy and a smaller sculpture called Kneeling Female — are thought to be around 1,000 years old.

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The ancient bronze kneeling woman sculpture is displayed during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The objects, a tall bronze figure called the “Standing Shiva” or the “Golden Boy” and a smaller sculpture called “Kneeling Female," are thought to be around 1,000 years old. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Standing Shiva sculpture from the 11th century is displayed during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand held a ceremony to mark the return of two stolen 1,000-year-old bronze sculptures. The ancient bronze sculptures were returned to Thailand by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Standing Shiva sculpture from the 11th century is displayed during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand held a ceremony to mark the return of two stolen 1,000-year-old bronze sculptures. The ancient bronze sculptures were returned to Thailand by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thailand Culture Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol talks to media during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thailand Culture Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol talks to media during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai photographer takes a picture of the ancient bronze kneeling woman sculpture during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai photographer takes a picture of the ancient bronze kneeling woman sculpture during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai person looks at a standing Shiva sculpture from the 11th century during repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai person looks at a standing Shiva sculpture from the 11th century during repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

This most recent repatriation of artwork comes as many museums in the U.S. and Europe reckon with collections that contain objects looted from Asia, Africa and other places during centuries of colonialism or in times of upheaval.

The Metropolitan Museum had announced last December that it would return more than a dozen artifacts to Thailand and Cambodia after they were linked to the late Douglas Latchford, an art dealer and collector accused of running a huge antiquities trafficking network out of Southeast Asia.

He was indicted in the United States in 2019 for allegedly orchestrating a long-running scheme to sell looted Cambodian antiquities on the international art market. Latchford, who died the following year, had denied any involvement in smuggling.

Speaking at Tuesday's ceremony, the Metropolitan’s curator of Asian and Southeast Asian art, John Guy, called the returned works “unrivalled masterpieces“ of their period and said the handover was “a very meaningful moment to recognize the importance of the art of Thailand in world culture.”

“The Met initiated the return of these two objects after reviewing information and established that the works rightly belonged to the Kingdom of Thailand,” he said.

“This return followed the launch of the Metropolitan’s Cultural Property Initiative last year, an initiative driven by the Met’s commitment to the responsible collecting of antiquities and to the shared stewardship of the world’s cultural heritage,” Guy told his audience in Bangkok.

Thai Culture Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol expressed her country’s gratitude for the return of the items.

"These artifacts that Thailand has received from the Met are the national assets of all Thais,” she said.

Last month, the Metropolitan Museum signed a memorandum of understanding in New York with Thailand “formalizing a shared commitment to collaborate on exchanges of art, expertise, and the display and study of Thai art.”

The statement also explained that the museum had recently tackled the controversial issue of cultural property and how it was obtained.

It said its measures include “a focused review of works in the collection; hiring provenance researchers to join the many researchers and curators already doing this work at the Museum; further engaging staff and trustees; and using The Met’s platform to support and contribute to public discourse on this topic.”

The ancient bronze kneeling woman sculpture is displayed during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The objects, a tall bronze figure called the “Standing Shiva” or the “Golden Boy” and a smaller sculpture called “Kneeling Female," are thought to be around 1,000 years old. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The ancient bronze kneeling woman sculpture is displayed during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The objects, a tall bronze figure called the “Standing Shiva” or the “Golden Boy” and a smaller sculpture called “Kneeling Female," are thought to be around 1,000 years old. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Standing Shiva sculpture from the 11th century is displayed during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand held a ceremony to mark the return of two stolen 1,000-year-old bronze sculptures. The ancient bronze sculptures were returned to Thailand by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Standing Shiva sculpture from the 11th century is displayed during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand held a ceremony to mark the return of two stolen 1,000-year-old bronze sculptures. The ancient bronze sculptures were returned to Thailand by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thailand Culture Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol talks to media during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thailand Culture Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol talks to media during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai photographer takes a picture of the ancient bronze kneeling woman sculpture during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai photographer takes a picture of the ancient bronze kneeling woman sculpture during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai person looks at a standing Shiva sculpture from the 11th century during repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai person looks at a standing Shiva sculpture from the 11th century during repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Thailand's National Museum hosted a welcome-home ceremony Tuesday for two ancient statues that were illegally trafficked from Thailand by a British collector of antiquities and were returned from the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

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Alcaraz's Wimbledon defense takes a hit when he loses in Queen's second round

2024-06-20 22:57 Last Updated At:23:00

LONDON (AP) — Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz's buildup took a hit when he lost in the second round of Queen's Club on Thursday.

Alcaraz, the defending Queen's champion and top seed, lost to Jack Draper 7-6 (3), 6-3.

For Draper, the British No. 1, it was the biggest win of his career. He was impressively composed in front of his home crowd.

Queen's was Alcaraz's only grass-court preparation last year en route to winning Wimbledon for the first time.

But this time the Spaniard will have only two grass matches under his belt following his French Open victory. Wimbledon starts in 11 days.

Draper ended Alcaraz's eight-match win streak while extending his own to seven after winning his first ATP title last week in Stuttgart.

Draper didn't drop serve against Alcaraz. They were finally separated in the first set in the tiebreak, where Draper shot to 4-0 then 6-1. Alcaraz netted a return to concede the set.

Alcaraz suffered the only break in the sixth game of the second set, after Draper's backhand return serve down the line.

Draper saved a break point to hold for 5-2, then Alcaraz saved three match points to hold. Draper served out and threw his arms in the air.

“I knew I had to come out here and play really well, and luckily I did that,” he said on court.

He faces fifth-seeded Tommy Paul in the quarterfinals.

AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

Jack Draper of Britain celebrates winning match point against Carlos Alcaraz of Spain during their men's singles match on day six of The Queen's Club tennis tournament, in London, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Jack Draper of Britain celebrates winning match point against Carlos Alcaraz of Spain during their men's singles match on day six of The Queen's Club tennis tournament, in London, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain reacts after losing a point against Jack Draper of Britain during their men's singles match on day six of The Queen's Club tennis tournament, in London, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain reacts after losing a point against Jack Draper of Britain during their men's singles match on day six of The Queen's Club tennis tournament, in London, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

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