"Romance, Crime and Political Awakening:" the Malraux Affair (1923) in the archives

by Lia Genovese

Skimming the archives in France and Cambodia to enhance our views on a murky affair: the André-Clara Malraux looting in Banteay Srei, December 1923.

Lia genovese lecture malraux 2024

Published: April 11th, 2024

Author: Lia Genovese

Language : English

Archaeologist and historian Lia Genovese presented the result of years of research through EFEO archives and French national archives, and also at the National Museum of Cambodia, where the glass plate photographs showing the seven artifacts stolen by Malraux and accomplices at Prasat Banteay Srei are still kept (see screenshot).

Based on her findings, the author portrays credulous French colonial officials, too easily beguiled archaeologists such as Henri Parmentier, Léonard Aurousseau or Victor Goloubew, embarrassed administrators such as Louis Finot or Albert Sarraut, and a George Groslier passionately attached to the cause of Cambodian cultural heritage preservation.

Read more about the 1923 looting at Banteay Srei.

A Siam Society Lecture, published by The Siam Society under Royal Patronage, Bangkok.

Tags: Banteay Srei, French Protectorate, EFEO, French writers, looting, Khmer arts

About the Author

Lia genovese

Lia Genovese

Lia Genovese is an independent researcher specializing in the archaeology of French Indochina, the Plain of Jars and other megalithic expressions in Laos and the region. Her current projects include a critical biography of the French archaeologist Madeleine Colani.

With a PhD from SOAS University of London, Lia has lectured at Thammasat and Silpakorn Universities in Bangkok, at SOAS-University of London and in Cambodia. A member of the Siam Society’s Lecture Committee, and the recipient of the IPPA Professional Prize awarded in November 2022, she has published in various academic journals and magazines.

Among her latest publications: The Plain of Jars: Mysterious and Imperilled, Global Heritage Fund, May 1, 2021.

Lia also contributes to the website The Fashion and Design Club.