Business Standard

Australia to return 3 artefacts during to India during PM Morrison visit next year


ANI Asia
A pair of 'dwarapala' or door guardians from 15th century Tamil Nadu and a 6th century sculpture of serpent king 'Nagaraja' with origins in either Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh are among the three artefacts, which will be returned to India during Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's visit to India next year.
"The return of these artefacts is the right thing to do. This is another demonstration of a deep relationship between Australia and India," Morrison said.
"Like India, we understand the value of our ancient cultures and artefacts," Morrison added.
The artefacts, which were held by the National Gallery of Australia, were purchased in good faith, but extensive research undertaken by the Gallery has led to its decision to voluntarily return these artefacts to India.
Both India and Australia are parties to the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transport of Ownership of Cultural Property.
Criminal law proceedings are currently underway in India and the United States against former New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor, from whom these artefacts were purchased. The Australian Government does not have any role in these proceedings.
The return of these artefacts also underscores the world's debt to India's magnificent culture, history and legacy, said Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne.
"The strong ties Australian and Indian institutions have made in recent years have helped develop important professional relationships and share culture. The return of these artefacts also underscores the world's debt to India's magnificent culture, history and legacy," Payne said.
"Historic artefacts play a significant role in modern society by allowing communities to acknowledge and celebrate their shared history and culture. The National Gallery of Australia recognises this and is strongly committed to the ethical collecting of cultural material and best-practice collection management. I commend the Gallery for resolving these legacy issues," the Minister for Arts Paul Fletcher said.

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First Published: Nov 27 2019 | 5:49 PM IST

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