NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inspected 29 stolen antiquities dating as far back as the 9th century that were returned by Australia.
The antiquities have been divided into six categories: Shiva and his disciples; worshipping Shakti; Lord Vishnu and his forms; Jain tradition; Portraits and other decorative objects. The art pieces had been taken to Australia illegally from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and West Bengal.
“These antiquities come from different time periods, with the earliest dating to 9-10 century CE. These are primarily sculptures and paintings executed in a variety of materials – sandstone, marble, bronze, brass, paper,” the government of India said.
Shiva and his disciples made of sandstone from Rajasthan (9th-10th century), Durga Mahisasuramardini (12th -13th century CE) made of sandstone from Gujarat, the dancing child-saint Sambandar (12th century CE) made of bronze from Tamil Nadu are among the antiquities.
The prime minister inspected the antiquities just before his virtual summit with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday. During the meeting, PM Modi thanked PM Morrison for returning the precious antiquities and the two leaders reiterated their commitment to strengthening bilateral ties.
“I am delighted to share that during the year of India’s 75th anniversary of Independence, Australia worked with the National Gallery of Australia to return 29 culturally significant artifacts to the Indian Govt & people of India on March 6,” said Barry O’Farrell, Australian High Commissioner to India.
In October last year, the United States repatriated about 250 antiquities worth $15 million dating back to 9-10 century CE to India following a long search operation of stolen art materials.