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Tracing The DNA Of Looted Artwork

Cambodians gather around a 10th-century sandstone sculpture of the Hindu god Rama after it was returned from the Denver Art Museum during a ceremony at the Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh on March 28, 2016. The 62-inch-tall torso, which was stolen in the 1970s from the Koh Ker temple site near the famed Angkor Wat complex, was handed over by the museum, which had possession since 1986. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)
Cambodians gather around a 10th-century sandstone sculpture of the Hindu god Rama after it was returned from the Denver Art Museum during a ceremony at the Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh on March 28, 2016. The 62-inch-tall torso, which was stolen in the 1970s from the Koh Ker temple site near the famed Angkor Wat complex, was handed over by the museum, which had possession since 1986. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, the Denver Art Museum returned a 10th century Hindu god statue to its rightful owner: Cambodia. The statue was stolen from a temple during Cambodia’s civil war in the 1970s and brought to the U.S. three decades ago.

The museum became aware of the issue when it was contacted by Cambodian authorities. Jane Milosch, director of the Provenance Research Initiative of the Smithsonian, speaks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about museums’ responsibility to determine the rightful ownership of art objects, and what it means to a country and culture when artwork is stolen.

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