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Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk

This Red List has been developed to assist museums, collectors, dealers in art and antiquities, and customs and other law enforcement officials in recognizing objects that may have been looted and illicitly exported from Cambodia. To facilitate this, the List illustrates and describes several categories of objects at risk of being illicitly traded on the antiquities market. These objects are protected under Cambodian law banning their sale and export. Therefore, ICOM appeals to interested parties to refrain from purchasing these objects without first checking thoroughly their origin and provenance documentation.

Because of the diversity of Cambodian objects, the Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk is not exhaustive, and any antiquity that may have originated in Cambodia should be subjected to detailed scrutiny and precautionary measures.

There is a vibrant craft industry in Cambodia today. Artisans produce textiles, lacquer-ware and carvings in stone and wood that emulate those made in the ancient past. The trade in these objects is crucial to the continued development of Cambodia's ongoing craft traditions, and is not meant to be hindered by the publication of this List.

 

Download the Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk in English 

Download the Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk in French 

Download the Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk in German 

Download the Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk in Khmer 

Download the Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk in Thai 

Context

 The Cambodian government takes considerable measures to protect the country’s cultural heritage, but despite them, widespread looting and destruction of archæological sites continues. Looters have targeted Angkorian and Post-Angkorian metal objects and stone sculptural elements for decades. Recently, a new tide of destruction has arisen with the looting of Prehistoric cemetery sites across the country.

The search for ancient artefacts is driven by demand in Cambodia and in the international market place. The illicit trafficking of objects of all types and materials, dating from the Prehistoric period to the 19th century, is stripping the country of its rich cultural heritage. Sculpture, architectural elements, ancient religious documents, bronzes, iron artefacts, wooden objects and ceramics are still being exported illegally at an alarming rate.

Cambodia’s cultural resources are very important to its people. Their pride in their heritage is symbolized by the choice of depicting the ancient temple of Angkor Wat on the nation’s flag. Moreover, sites such as the Angkor Park are enormously popular with international tourists and constitute an economic resource for Cambodia. Threats to Cambodian heritage therefore continue to be taken seriously by the international community.