A collection of rare Cambodian silver and pottery given to Richard M. Nixon during his days in the White House was put on display for the first time Monday at the former President's library.
Cambodia's president during the Nixon Administration, Heng Cheng, unveiled the display in a ceremony that included Cambodian music and a blessing from a group of Buddhist monks who fled their native country and now reside in Southern California.
"For many people here, Cambodia for the last 30 years has been perceived mostly as a focus of war," said museum director John H. Taylor. "Because of the brutality of the Communist Khmer Rouge, many of the country's cultural and artistic aspects might have been neglected because of the glare of the headlines."
The exhibit, which runs through Oct. 27, includes gifts given to Nixon on a tour of Southeast Asia in 1953 and during his presidency, along with objects loaned to the library by private collectors of Cambodian art, curator Amanda Fish said. Many of the pieces have never been seen outside of Cambodia, Fish added.