Australia's National Gallery to return 14 'stolen' artworks to India
The identified artworks include sculptures, photographs and a scroll -- either stolen, looted or of unknown origin.
The National Gallery on Thursday announced that Australia will return 14 artworks to India, including at least six believed to have been stolen or illegally exported. The identified artworks include sculptures, photographs and a scroll -- either stolen, looted or of unknown origin.
The Gallery director Nick Mitzevish told the media that works were set to be returned to the Indian government within months. He said it's a relief that they can be returned to the Indian people and it's a resolution for the gallery 'to close a very difficult chapter of our history'.
According to various reports, the collection is composed largely of "religious and cultural artefacts" worth a total of about US$2.2 million, including some dating back to the 12th century.
The National Gallery of Australia has already returned several other works, including a US$5 million bronze statue of the Hindu god Shiva that had been stolen from a Tamil Nadu temple.
Thirteen of the works are connected to alleged trafficker Subhash Kapoor, a former Manhattan art dealer who was the subject of a massive US federal investigation known as Operation Hidden Idol. However, Kapoor denied all charges. Since his arrest in 2011, the United States has also returned hundreds of artefacts.