Australia to return stolen Buddha statue to India

An 1,800-year-old Buddha statue which was displayed in the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) is being prepared for its return to India, after it was found to have been purchased from an illegal antiquity trafficker, authorities said on Friday.

The second-century statue stands at 1.3 metres tall, and was purchased from Asian art specialist Nancy Wiener by billionaire Ros Packer, on behalf of the NGA, in 2007, Xinhua news agency reported.

However documents revealed that NGA staff simply accepted Wiener’s story of how she came to be in possession of the antiquity, unaware that it was in fact stolen from an archaeological site in Mathura, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradhesh.

NGA director Gerard Vaughan told News Corp on Friday that the sculpture would likely be returned to Indian government officials when they visit Australia for an Indian cultural festival in September.

“There is a high-level delegation coming in September so we’re investigating whether that will be the moment of hand over,” Vaughan said.

“Or (we) simply come to an agreement with India, because it is no longer our property, whether it can just be sent back to India. “

The condition of the statue was so good that it was initially thought to be a fake, though when experts from the Archaeological Survey of India examined the piece, it was revealed to be genuine.

“One of the reasons was because it’s of great age and was in very good condition. Good condition can denote a fake,” Vaughan said.

Leave a Reply



Murali R

A senior journalist in the business, R Murali started his career with The Times of India as a reporter in sports. He has covered a lot of local, national, international events in cricket, hockey, volley ball, motor sports and table tennis. Over the years he has done a lot of special stories including general stories. Before Joining City Today, he worked in Deccan Chronicle and DNA. At City Today, he is an integral part of the team handling national, sports edit and op-ed pages. He also actively contributes to City Sunday features.

Related Articles