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Ancient Nalanda Buddha statue returned to India from USA, was among the 14 bronzes looted from Nalanda Museum

The sculpture of Buddha Shakyamuni, also known as the Bodhisattva Maitreya, is made of gilded copper alloy.

An exquisitely carved bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni or the Bodhisattva Maitreya from Nalanda, Bihar, has been returned to the Indian Consulate in the United States.

This is the second Nalanda Buddha to be returned to India, following the one in London in 2018. These statues were robbed from India’s Nalanda Museum and smuggled to Western countries in the early 1960s.

On August 22, 1961, and again in March 1962, the Nalanda Museum was looted. In 1961, fourteen bronzes were looted. The repatriation of the first Nalanda Buddha took place in a magnificent ceremony in London on August 15, 2018, and was applauded by activists battling illegal artefacts trafficking.

The sculpture of Buddha Shakyamuni, also known as the Bodhisattva Maitreya, is made of gilded copper alloy. For lack of sufficient proof, the Los Angeles County Museum (LCAME) in the United States kept this sister bronze of the idol given over in London.

According to S Vijayakumar of India Pride Project, the case was another key triumph in their battle against illicit antiquities trafficking and continuous cooperation with Homeland Security agencies and agents. This specific case has perplexed India since 1961, and the LACMA had been looking for definitive evidence since the 1970s.

Vijayakumar stated, “We worked with Sanjeev Sanyal and Dr Biswas for old documentation of the case and proved the theft. Based on our matching agent Chad Fredrickson of Homeland security, we launched an investigation which has finally resulted in this victory.”

Sachindra S. Biswas is the former Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India and Sanjeev Sanyal is a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.

On the festival of Makar Sankranti in January, the High Commission of India in London recovered an old Indian statue of a goat-headed goddess that had gone lost from a temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Lokhari village 40 years ago. The statue is part of a larger collection of Yogini statues that went stolen from Lokhari between 1978 and 1982.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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