US museum to return more than 100 Indian antiquities

US museum to return more than 100 Indian antiquities

CHENNAI: The Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio is ready to return more than 100 Indian antiquities donated by art dealer Subhash Kapoor now lodged in Puzhal prison.

On September 22, the museum said it will return four objects including a bronze Ganesha it purchased from Kapoor who is also under investigation by the US departments of justice and homeland security for illegally importing and selling stolen antiquities and other art objects and for providing false histories of prior ownership (or provenance) to buyers.

Kapoor had donated more than 115 antique objects in 2006 and 2007 to the museum, of which more than 50 are terracotta pieces. According to a list made available to TOI by the museum, these include a terracotta Kubera Rattle and a man riding an animal from 1st century BC. Some others are from the Gupta period. The terracotta objects are largely from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and western India.

“The museum will coordinate the return of four objects it purchased, as well as all of the donated objects, with US representatives of the Republic of India. Four other objects acquired from Kapoor by TMA have confirmed provenance and they will remain in the museum’s collection,” said an official.

“The museum purchased a total of eight objects from Kapoor between 2001 and 2010. The purchased items have been on public display at the museum in the past. Between 2006 and 2007 Kapoor donated 54 small ceramic objects and his art gallery manager Aaron Freedman donated 64 works on paper to the museum,” said the official.

Vijay Kumar, who blogs on Indian art and heads an online initiative to combat idol smuggling via the India pride project, told TOI it was time all the stolen Kapoor objects returned home.

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