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Indian antiques smuggled to US identified, could be returned

IANS  |  New York 

A cache of ancient Indian antiques and valuable artefacts, seized by the from arrested art smuggler Kapoor, have been identified by Indian archaeologists and could soon be returned to the country.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Archaeological Survey of announced finding over 300 antique objects, including idols dating to the Gupta period (5th-6th century AD) and terracotta objects of the Harappan culture from the storage of Kapoor, who was arrested in 2011 from Germany's

The was later extradited to and is being tried for theft of objects from various places.

ASI Additional Director told IANS that a set of 17 objects were shown by the US Homeland Security department to her and another during their US visit and the seven bronze and 10 stone objects were identified as antiques "of significant historical value".

According to the ASI, these comprise "beautiful bronzes from the Suttamalli and Sripurantan temples of Tamil Nadu" and also a "very significant image of Mahakoka Devata". Of these, four were stolen from the protected monuments at Karitalai, on August 16-17, 2006, it said.

The two-member ASI team comprising Sant and P.S. Sriraman visited the US following a communication from the Indian Consulate in

In addition, Sant said that the Consulate also showed the ASI team 327 objects, out of which 251 were found to be historically important antiques. These include 56 terracotta objects returned by the (Ohio), which were originally gifted to the museum by

"Majority of them belong to Chandraketugarh, West Bengal, a of terracotta art in the first decade, CE (Common Era). The rest comprised terracotta objects of Harappan culture and of the Gupta period."

The objects also comprise those of brass and copper alloys, gold with enamel work, silver, stone and terracotta, including a stone image of Buddha of the Mathura School, a terracotta image of Buddha belonging to the Gupta period and a set of ten copper plates engraved with Quranic verses dating from the late Mughal period.

Two other stone images - of Lingodhbhava of the late Chola period (12th-13th century) from and Manjushri of Pala period (10th-11th century) - which were purchased by US museums from and were later returned were also examined and identified as antiques.

The also said that correspondence with the is currently underway, and it could take "one or two years" to get them back in

Since many antiquities have been stolen from temples, she also said the objects will be restored to their original places.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 08 2019. 19:28 IST