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As many as 157 artefacts and antiquities, including a bronze statue of Nataraja from the 12th CE and a copper anthropomorphic object from 2000 BC, were handed over by the United States during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the country.
PM Modi and President Biden reaffirmed their efforts to combat the theft, illicit trade, and trafficking of cultural objects.
The items returning to India largely belong to the period of 11th CE to 14 CE, including a one-and-a-half metre bas relief panel of Revanta in statue from the 10th CE and a terracotta vase from the 2nd CE.
While half of the artefacts are cultural items, the other half consists of figurines from Hinduism (60 items), Buddhism (16 items), and Jainism (9 items).
The returning bronze collection primarily contains ornate figurines of Lakshmi Narayana, Buddha, Vishnu, Shiva Parvati, the 25 Jain Tirthankaras, and less common figurines of Kankalamurti, Brahma, and Nandikesa.
The motifs include religious sculptures from Hinduism (three-headed Brahma, chariot driving Surya, Vishnu and his consorts, and a dancing Ganesha), Buddhism (standing Buddha, Boddhisattva Majushri, Tara) and Jainism (Jain Tirthankara, Padmasana Tirthankara) as well as secular motifs of women playing the drum and an amorphous couple in Samabhanga.
There are 56 terracotta pieces, including a pair of deer from the 12th CE and a bust of a woman from the 14th CE, and an 18th CE sword with a Persian inscription on the sheath mentioning Guru Hargovind Singh.
The Prime Minister conveyed his deep appreciation for the repatriation of these antiques to India.
In a 2014 visit to New Delhi, then Prime Minister Tony Abbott had handed over the coveted Dancing Shiva statue from the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) to PM Modi.
Most recently in July 2021, the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) returned six sculptures, a painted scroll, six photographs, and a processional standard that were likely looted or stolen from India.
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