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Museum reveals list of 30 items from disgraced New York gallery

Published on Jun 3, 2014 9:46 AM
A stone sculpture of Nandi, the bull mount of the Hindu god Shiva, bought for US$55,250, remains on display at the Asian Civilisations Museum's South Asia gallery. It is among the 30 items acquired by the museum from Art of the Past gallery in New York, which is accused of trafficking in millions of dollars' worth of stolen artefacts. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

The Asian Civilisations Museum has lifted the veil on the full list of 30 works of art it acquired from a disgraced New York gallery accused of trafficking in millions of dollars' worth of stolen artefacts.

The museum released the list and price of each item exclusively to The Straits Times, in response to queries following the recent publication online of a partial inventory of the artefacts.

It was published on the blog, Chasing Aphrodite, written by former Los Angeles Times reporter Jason Felch who tracks illicit antiquities in museums around the world.

The 30 artefacts, dating from the third to 19th century, include sculptures, paintings, architectural fragments, ancient rattles and manuscripts. They range in price from US$3,500 (S$4,400) to US$650,000 each.

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Background story

The list of 30 artefacts bought by the Asian Civilisations Museum from Art of the Past:

Third-century limestone fragment, US$22,500 (S$28,000)
11th-century standing Buddha sculpture, US$15,000
11th-century sandstone sculpture of a crouching lion
11th-century stone sculpture of goddess Camunda, US$55,000 (together with the sculpture of the lion)
Album of 14 paintings, Hindoo Costumes, US$9,500
A set of two 19th-century watercolours, US$6,000
Three ancient rattles, US$10,000
18th-century gilded Virgin Mary and Christ altar*, US$135,000
11th-century bronze statue of Hindu goddess Uma Parameshvari, US$650,000
Late 18th- to early 19th-century manuscript depicting Jina Rishabhanatha
19th-century manuscript by guru Garanth Sahib
1670 gold-on-paper folio from a series on the Mahabharata epic
1870 painting, Adulation of Shri Nath-ji
1820 gouache and gold on paper painting of The Siege of Lanka
1820 gouache and gold on paper painting of Rama and His Army Crossing to Lanka
1700-1720 gouachse and gold on paper painting of guru Nanak Dev with Bala and Mardana
1820 gouache and gold on paper painting of Ram, Lakshman, Sita in River
1820 gouache and gold on paper painting of Ram, Lakshman Leaving
19th-century painting on mica of Muharram Procession, US$240,000 (total for 10 items)
Two watercolour on gold paper paintings, US$30,000
10th- or 11th-century stone sculpture of Nandi, US$55,250
A 19th-century Sikh Chhatri, US$25,000
Mid 19th-century painting of Jain Tirthankara, US$35,000
Four early to mid 19th-century paintings of Hindu god Murugan, US$40,000

*Previously identified and reported