Canada Won’t Return Allegedly Stolen Statue to India

The so-called "Parrot Lady" statue.
Photo: Via

Lakshmana temple at the Indian architectural site of Khajuraho.
Photo: Christopher Voitus, via Wikimedia Commons.

India is asking Canada to return a 12th century statue that was allegedly stolen from a United Nations heritage site, but the Department of Canadian Heritage refuses to admit that it has the sculpture and maintains it is not obligated to return it.

The life-size sculpture of a woman with a parrot perched on one of her shoulders has been held by Canadian Heritage officials in Edmonton since 2011, according to the Economic Times, but because the Archaeological Survey of India cannot prove that the statue was stolen and no theft was ever reported, Canadian Heritage says it will not repatriate the work.


The so-called “Parrot Lady” statue.
Photo: Via

A picture of the statue, which most likely came from the Khajuraho site in northern India, is being distributed among Indian archaeologists, but thus far no one can figure out how the object ended up in Canada.

“The picture of the statue was first sent to the Bhopal circle office since Khajuraho comes under its jurisdiction,” Rakesh Tiwari, director general of the Archaeological Survey of India, told the Economic Times. “They have reported that there is no record of any theft of such a statue.”

Under the terms of Canada’s 1977 Cultural Property Export and Import Act, Indian authorities will have to prove that “the cultural property was illegally exported from that state,” reports.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In