Press "Enter" to skip to content

Art Institute of Chicago Returns 900-Year-Old Krishna Artifact to Thailand

Order Cannabis Online Order Cannabis Online

The Art Institute of Chicago has taken a commendable step by deciding to return a 900-year-old artifact to its rightful home from where it was once taken. The ancient relic, originating from the Phanom Rung Historical Park in Buri Ram, will soon be back under the stewardship of Thailand’s Fine Arts Department (FAD). Imagine discovering that an ancient piece of history, thought lost, is finally on its way back home. A director-general of the FAD, Phanombut Chantarachot, shared this exciting news on Wednesday, revealing that the US institute has expressed its deep intention to return a precious fragment of a pilaster. This artifact, which wonderfully depicts the Hindu deity Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana, dates all the way back to the 12th-century.

The fragment’s storied journey began long before its trip to the United States. Research conducted by the Office of National Museums concluded that this piece was originally part of a door frame of a mandapa, an architectural element located east of the majestic Prasat Phanom Rung. This ancient Khmer ruin, standing proudly on an extinct volcano in Chalerm Phrakiat district, was once a shrine to the god Shiva. Unfortunately, it is believed that the fragment was smuggled out of Thailand circa 1965—just before the FAD embarked on a grand renovation project for the historical site.

Enter Nicolas Revire—an Art Institute of Chicago expert specialized in Southeast Asian art and archaeology. During his insightful visit to the Phanom Rung Historical Park, Revire discovered compelling evidence that firmly connected the fragment, which had been donated to the institute in 1966, to the Phanom Rung Stone Castle. This revelatory discovery set the wheels of fate in motion. Recognizing the gravity of the situation and understanding the artifact might have been taken illegally, the institution made a remarkable decision. They resolved to return this invaluable piece of history to where it belongs.

The journey from decision to action wasn’t long. The institute’s board of trustees gave a green light to remove the item from its records on June 11—a decision that echoes the importance they place on legal possession and cultural respect. They promptly informed the FAD about the repatriation process, signaling the next chapter in the artifact’s storied life.

While this particular artifact wasn’t on the official list of ancient objects Thailand is actively trying to retrieve, the gesture from the Art Institute of Chicago didn’t go unnoticed. Culture Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol expressed her joy and praise, noting how the institute’s gesture not only underscores the significance of lawful ownership of such historical treasures but also strengthens the cultural ties and enduring bond between Thailand and the United States. It’s a reminder of how history and art transcend borders, forging connections across oceans and generations.

Isn’t it heartwarming to witness the return of a piece of history to its homeland? This tale of an artifact’s journey is a testament to the enduring importance of cultural heritage and international cooperation. Here’s to hoping that this act of goodwill inspires many more, ensuring that fragments of history find their way back to where they truly belong.


  1. Anna J. June 19, 2024

    It’s heartening to see the Art Institute of Chicago return the Krishna artifact to Thailand. Respecting cultural heritage is crucial.

    • Bob June 19, 2024

      I agree, but why did it take so long? It was taken in the 60s—shouldn’t they have acted sooner?

      • Anna J. June 19, 2024

        Good point. The museum may not have been aware of its origins until the recent research by Revire.

      • Cortez66 June 19, 2024

        Museums often have thousands of items. Tracking the origins of each one can be a nightmare.

  2. Tina M. June 19, 2024

    Returning artifacts is always a complex issue. What if many historical items in museums around the world had to be returned?

    • Daniel H. June 19, 2024

      That could lead to a lot of empty museums, but also a lot of happy cultures reclaiming their heritage.

    • Sophie L. June 19, 2024

      But some items are better preserved and studied in international museums. It’s a balancing act.

    • Tina M. June 19, 2024

      Exactly. We need to find a way to honor both preservation and cultural ownership.

  3. HistoryBuff92 June 19, 2024

    Should museums return every artifact to its country of origin? Isn’t history meant to be shared globally?

    • Alex P. June 19, 2024

      Sharing history is important, but so is respecting the original context and ownership of these artifacts.

    • HistoryBuff92 June 19, 2024

      True, but many artifacts were obtained legally at the time. Changing ownership now seems complicated.

  4. Mark45 June 19, 2024

    This act by the Art Institute of Chicago is a great example of cultural diplomacy in action.

  5. Elena W. June 19, 2024

    Are there any legal repercussions for museums that hold artifacts obtained through smuggling?

    • John D. June 19, 2024

      It depends on the laws of the countries involved and how the artifacts were obtained. There’s a lot of grey area.

    • Elena W. June 19, 2024

      I guess that means more work for legal teams on both sides. The law must evolve to better handle these cases.

  6. Sanjay June 19, 2024

    I’m thrilled to see this return! Hopefully, it will spark more returns of ancient artifacts to their homelands.

  7. Lamar June 19, 2024

    What’s next, though? Will other institutions follow the Art Institute of Chicago’s lead?

    • Katie June 19, 2024

      Institutions usually follow the precedent if it gains enough attention. Fingers crossed!

  8. Zoe C. June 19, 2024

    Isn’t it ironic that many artifacts are in better condition because they were taken away and preserved?

  9. Tom June 19, 2024

    True, but that doesn’t justify taking them in the first place.

    • Zoe C. June 19, 2024

      Agreed, Tom. But preservation often leads to complex ethical debates.

  10. Linda A. June 19, 2024

    I’d love to see more international cooperation like this. It benefits everyone in the long run.

  11. Eduardo June 20, 2024

    Museums should prioritize transparency with their collections. This can prevent future controversies.

    • Martha S. June 20, 2024

      Totally agree, Eduardo. Transparency ensures accountability.

  12. Joe B. June 20, 2024

    It’s nice, but what about the artifacts that won’t be returned? Is it fair to pick and choose?

    • Sarah T. June 20, 2024

      Fair point, Joe. Every artifact has its own story and context. It’s a complicated process.

  13. Aisha June 20, 2024

    The act of returning artifacts should be a given, not an exception. Hopefully, this sets a new standard.

  14. Phil G. June 20, 2024

    How does this affect relations between countries? Can returning artifacts smooth over historical grievances?

    • Emily R. June 20, 2024

      It can definitely improve relations, Phil. Gestures like this build trust and respect.

  15. Aaron June 20, 2024

    How many other artifacts are out there in similar situations? This might just be the tip of the iceberg.

  16. Robert June 20, 2024

    Does the artifact’s journey diminish its value, or does it add to the historical narrative?

    • Karen S. June 20, 2024

      I think it adds to the narrative. The story of its return is a part of its history now.

  17. Order Cannabis Online Order Cannabis Online

Leave a Reply

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

More from ThailandMore posts in Thailand »