The Met Returns Two Stolen Artifacts to Nepal

October 6, 2022
History
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Image Source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/

Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art returned two archeological artifacts to Nepal: a 10th-century stone statue and a 13th-century wooden strut.

Shiva in Himalayan Abode with Ascetics, a 13-inch stone statue, depicts the prominent Hindu deity Shiva with two disciples at Mount Kailash in the Himalayas. It arrived at the Met in 1995, remaining there until Nepali scholar Lain Singh Bangdel determined in his book, Inventory of Stone Sculptures of Kathmandu Valley, that it belonged to the Kankeswari Temple in Kathmandu, per a statement from the Met.

The wooden sculpture, Temple Strut with a Salabhinka, measures about 51 inches and has been at the Met since 1991. Through its own research and Mary Slusser’s book The Antiquity of Nepalese Wood Carving, which contains photographs of the strut, the museum determined that the object came from Itum Baha, a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu. The Met believes that it was once joined to a sculpture of a Hindu nature-spirit called a yaksa, which is still at the temple.

“The Museum is committed to the responsible acquisition of archaeological art,” the Met says in its statement, “and applies rigorous provenance standards both to new acquisitions and … to works long in its collection in an ongoing effort to learn as much as possible about ownership history.”

Both works, which the Met says it received as gifts in the ’90s, will be displayed at the National Museum of Nepal in Kathmandu.

Bishnu Prasad Gautam, the acting Nepalese consul general, says in the statement that he appreciates the museum’s “ongoing dedication and commitment to working for the preservation and promotion of world cultural heritage.” He adds, “The warm cooperation we have received from the museum has deeply contributed to Nepal’s national efforts to recover and reinstate its lost artifacts.”

Story Source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/met-returns-two-stolen-artifacts-to-nepal-180980609/

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