US’ Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that it will return 15 sculptures that were illegally taken away from India. All of the works were sold by Subhash Kapoor, a convicted Indian-American antiquities smuggler who is currently imprisoned in India. The sculptures include an 11th-century sandstone celestial dancer (Apsara) from Madhya Pradesh and 1st century BCE Yakshi Terracotta from West Bengal, copper and stone, a ceramic pot from Chandraketugarh, a stone bust of Kamadeva from the second half of the 8th century C.E, and a Svetambara enthroned Jina.
The museum added that it will stick to responsible purchase of antiquities, and has set in place strict standards for new acquisitions and its existing collection. It is presently vetting the details of works acquired from suspicious dealers. Respecting its long association with the Indian government, the Met is pleased to take action in the incident. The museum has also now removed three Turkish pieces from its Greek and Roman galleries.
In October 2022, the US restored 307 archaeological items, worth nearly 4 million dollars stolen by multiple trafficking rings, to India. The items were handed over during a repatriation ceremony at the Indian Consulate in New York attended by India’s Consul General Randhir Jaiswal.