PHOTOS | Australia to return ‘stolen’ art to India

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  • The Canberra gallery will return 14 works of art to India.
  • The collection is worth approximately $ 2.2 million.
  • 13 of the works are related to the alleged trafficker Subhash Kapoor.

Australia will return 14 works of art to India, including at least six believed to have been stolen or illegally exported, the National Gallery announced on Thursday.

The Canberra gallery identified the works, which include sculpture, photographs and a scroll, as stolen, looted or of unknown origin.

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The collection consists primarily of “religious and cultural artifacts” with a total value of approximately $ 2.2 million, including some dating back to the 12th century.

Gallery director Nick Mitzevich said the works were due to be returned to the Indian government in a few months.

“It is a relief that they can be returned to the Indian people, and it is a resolution of the National Gallery to close a very difficult chapter in our history,” he said.

This distributed image released by the National Gallery of Australia shows the historic sculpture when the National Gallery announced that Australia will return 14 works of art to India, including at least six that are believed to have been stolen or illegally exported.

This undated brochure published by the Natio

This undated photograph published by the National Gallery of Australia shows the Arch of a Jain shrine and seated Jina from the Mount Abu region of Rajasthan, India, from the 11th to 12th centuries.

This undated brochure published by the Natio

This undated image released by the National Gallery of Australia shows the statue of Tamil Nadu, the 12th century Sambandar holy child. Australia will return 14 works of art to India, including at least six believed to have been stolen or illegally exported.

Legal and ethical issues

Thirteen of the works are related to suspected dealer Subhash Kapoor, a former Manhattan art dealer who was the subject of a massive US federal investigation known as Operation Hidden Idol.

Kapoor, who is awaiting trial, denies all charges.

The National Gallery of Australia has already returned several other works it acquired through Kapoor, including a $ 5 million bronze statue of the Hindu god Shiva that had been stolen from a Tamil Nadu temple.

Mitzevich said he had introduced guidelines to assess any legal and ethical issues with the works he owns, and was investigating three other sculptures from his Asian collection.

“It’s a very live issue with galleries around the world. And we want to make sure that we can resolve these issues in a timely manner,” he said.

Many of the antiquities Kapoor dealt with date back to the 11th and 12th centuries, when the Chola dynasty presided over the flourishing of Hindu art in Tamil Nadu.

Since his arrest in 2011, the United States has also returned hundreds of artifacts.

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