The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Wednesday that it will return a 10th-century religious statue to Nepal after researchers found gaps in its record of origin.
The region’s cultural history experts said the icon was probably stolen from a temple temple in the Kathmandu Valley about 50 years ago.
The statue depicts Lord Shiva, a revered Hindu god, with two disciples in a dwelling atop Mount Kailash in the Himalayas. Clouds are bursting from the background of the haloed god holding a bottle filled with amrita, an ambrosia resulting from the churning of the ocean and representing the origin of life.
Bishnu Prasad Gautam, Acting Consul General of Nepal, said in a statement that his government appreciated the museum’s initiative to return the sacred object. “The warm cooperation we received from the museum has profoundly contributed to Nepal’s national efforts to restore and restore lost artifacts,” Gautam said.
The return of the statue of Shiva marks the third time in many years that the Met Museum has returned an item from its collection to Nepal. cultural institution in 2018 repatriated two stone statues: a 12th-century stele (Shiva and Parvati) by Uma Mahesvara and a 10th-century statue of Buddha. According to a museum spokesperson, there are currently more than 200 Nepali objects in the collection.
“The museum is committed to the responsible acquisition of archaeological art and applies strict sourcing standards to both new acquisitions and the review of long artifacts in its collection,” the Met said in a statement. In returning this statue to Nepal, the museum is moving to strengthen its longstanding good relationship with scientific institutions and colleagues in Nepal.”
In march, Dallas Museum of Art With the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they sent a statue of a god back to Nepal, and earlier this month, Denver Art Museum returned another holy statue to Nepal.
“Many of these objects were stolen and passed through merchants and auction houses,” said Roshan Mishra, director of the company. Taragaon Museum in Kathmandu and a member Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign. “We have many objects on our list, such as the statue of Shiva. They will come back one by one.”
The 13-inch-tall artifact at the Met was once housed at Kankeswari Temple (Kanga-Ajima), a local shrine not far from Kathmandu’s historic Durbar Square. According to Mishra, the statue was probably stolen about 50 years ago; It was eventually sold to a collector who gave the piece to the museum in 1995.