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Australia set to return ancient statues to India

Published on Mar 27, 2014 2:18 PM
 
Bronze sculpture of Shiva as Lord of the Dance, National Gallery of Australia. Australia is preparing to return two centuries-old statues to India, officials said Thursday, March 27, 2014, following allegations they were stolen from ancient sites and sold as part of an audacious art fraud. -- PHOTO: NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia is preparing to return two centuries-old statues to India, officials said Thursday, following allegations they were stolen from ancient sites and sold as part of an audacious art fraud.

The National Gallery of Australia's (NGA) bronze sculpture of a dancing Shiva, purchased in 2008 from New York art and antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor, was pulled from display in Canberra on Monday.

A lesser work also linked to Kapoor, the Ardhanariswara idol held by the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, has also been removed, the Attorney-General's Department said in a statement.

India requested the works' return on Friday and Australia, as a signatory to a Unesco convention on the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property, will implement its obligations under its Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act, it said.

 
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