Home/ News / World/  New York Metropolitan Museum of Art to return 15 smuggled sculptures to India

After a New York court issued a search and seize warrant, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that they will return fifteen of the artefacts and antiques that were illegally removed from India and sold to them by disgraced dealer Subhash Kapoor.

In a statement, the Met said it will transfer the 15 sculptures for return to the government of India. The works range in date from the 1st century BCE to the 11th century CE, and include terracotta, copper and stone.

The 15 include the 11th century sandstone Celestial Dancer (Apsara) from Madhya Pradesh (valued at more than $1 million) and the 1st century BCE Yakshi Terracotta from West Bengal, according to the Indian Express.

Further, a ceramic pot from Chandraketugarh of 1st century B.C.E, a stone bust of Kamadeva, the God of Love, from the second half of the 8th century C.E, a Svetambara enthroned Jina, with attendant Yaksha and Yakshi 11th century C.E and other items are in the list.

All of the works were sold at one point by Kapoor, who is currently serving a prison sentence in India.

“The Museum is committed to the responsible acquisition of archaeological art and applies rigorous provenance standards both to new acquisitions and to works long in its collection. The Museum is actively reviewing the history of antiquities from suspect dealers. The Museum values highly its long-standing relationships with the government of India and is pleased to resolve this matter," the Met said in the statement.

The museum contacted Homeland Security about its works from Kapoor in 2015 and is “pleased to be acting on this matter today as a result of the criminal investigation into Subhash Kapoor" by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, it said.

Through this cooperative partnership, the museum received new information from the Manhattan DA’s office about 15 works of art that made it clear that the works should be transferred, resulting in a constructive resolution, the statement said.

In addition, in cooperation with the DA office’s criminal investigation into Turkish sites Bubon and Perge, the museum recently removed from display from its Greek and Roman galleries three pieces from Turkey-- two of which were loans and a third is part of the Met’s collection, it said.

In 2019, the jailed art dealer Subhash Kapoor , who is an US citizen, was charged by prosecutors in Manhattan, US with stealing and possessing millions of dollars worth of artefacts over a period of 30 years.


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Updated: 01 Apr 2023, 07:57 PM IST
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