Eight Stolen Artefacts Being Brought Home

Several historical sculptures stolen from various parts of the nation in different times are being repatriated from foreign lands, thanks mainly to the tireless efforts made by the Department of Archaeology (DoA) and committed conservationists.

Also contributing to that trend is the growing number of such cultural objects being identified and discovered.

As per the recent records of the Department of Archaeology (DoA), some eight stolen artifacts are being returned from the United State of America (USA) and France.

The sculpture of Uma Maheshwore, which was stolen in 1960s from Ga:hiti tole in Ward No. 11 of Lalitpur Metropolitan City (LMC) is returning home from Denver Art Museum of the US, as is the four-faced Shivalinga (Chaturmukhi Shivalinga), stolen from Pashupati area in 1984. The latter sculpture has been put up in an exhibition at Art Institute of Chicago of the US.

Another two historical artifacts of the 12th century — Uma Maheshwore sculpture, which was stolen six decades ago from Nasamanaa of Ward No. 3 in Bhaktapur, and the sculpture of Shreedhar Bishnu of Chyalsalhiti — are in National Museum of Asian Arts of France.

An agreement was signed to repatriate the sculptures around two years ago during the former Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s visit to France.

But the sculpture of Uma Maheshwore, which was stolen from Nasamanaa Chowk on May 23 in 1984, has not been returned yet. The sculpture of Shreedhar Bishnu was stolen in 1970 from the Chyaslhiti, in LMC.
Similarly, of the 12 16th century idols used for decoration called torana at the southern door of the Mulchok of the Taleju Bhavani Temple of Patan, five gilded copper-bronze images of Nrityanath, Mahalaxmi, Chamunda, Shiva Gana (Bhairab) and Panchmukhi Hanuman (Hanu Bhairab) are in process of being returned.

The objects were wrenched out of the torana in 1970s from the Taleju Temple. The auction house of Bonhams Company of France had earlier put the items on sale, but a widespread international pressure forced the company to cancel the auction.

The gilt copper necklace with semiprecious stones belonging to Taleju Bhavani of Hanumandhoka was found on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was offered to the goddess by Pratap Malla in 1643 and was stolen after 1969 as per the record of DoA.

The two Salabhanjika Struts, which were put on the top of Subaha (Bihar) of Subaha tole of the LMC at Ward No. 8 and which were stolen in 1985, are coming home.
The artistic wooden struts were found at the auction house of Cornette de Saint Cry Paris of France.

Moreover, the stolen stone idol of Himalayan Abode with Ascetics of 10th century of Kankeshwori Temple, which was discovered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is also being repatriated.
The idol was stolen shortly after 1995, because it was recorded on page 134 of the 1995 book by Lain Singh Bangdel titled ‘Inventory of Stone Sculptures’.

Sarita Subedi, Chief of the Curio Department and archaeological officer of the DoA, said that all these artefacts were being repatriated and in the last few years such repatriations had increased mainly due to the support of several heritage conservationists and efforts of the department itself.

She further said lawyer and heritage conservationist Sanjaya Adhikari had provided detailed information of the stolen sculptures which greatly enhanced the repatriation process.

“I have been working tirelessly to claim and bring back these stolen artefacts after Adhikari provided elaborate information about them.” Earlier this year, a stolen bronze idol of Laxmi Narayan dated anywhere between the 12th and 15th centuries had returned home from a Dallas museum in the US.

In addition, three artefacts of Salabhanjika Strut, Shakyamuni Buddha and Ganesha sculpture — dating from 13th to 16th century — were returned from the same country.

The necklace of Hanumandhoka’s Taleju Bhawani Temple, offered to the goddess by Pratap Malla, was found in the Art Institute of Chicago, USA.

Source : TRN,