Toledo Museum of Art Returns Stolen Statue to India

This Ganesha statue purchased by the Toledo Museum of Art from Subhash Kapoor in 2006 was looted, and will be returned to India. Photo: the Toledo Museum of Art.

The Toledo Museum of Art is giving an almost 1,000-year-old bronze statue of the Hindu god Ganesha back to India, reports Artfix Daily. The sculpture is believed to be one of many looted Indian antiquities sold by disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor. The decision to return it was made by a committee vote in August.

“Although there is an ongoing investigation of Mr. Kapoor’s alleged illegal activities being conducted, in the case of the Ganesha the evidence provided by Indian authorities was convincing. We believe this sculpture was stolen from a temple in Tamil Nadu province sometime before 2006,” said director Brian Kennedy in a statement. “As was true with other items the museum has returned in recent years, it is part of our collections policy to deaccession and return any object for which we cannot provide clear title. We could wait for our own government’s investigation to run its course, but we believe the Indian people deserve to have this remarkable example of their cultural heritage returned now.”

The museum has eight objects in its collection that were purchased from New York gallery Kapoor’s Art of the Past between 2001 and 2010. As the institution works with the Indian government to determine if any additional objects were illegally acquired by Kapoor, all of the remaining pieces purchased from the dealer have been removed from public display.

Kapoor is currently being held in India as he awaits trial for illegal exportation, criminal conspiracy and forgery.

Last month, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was also forced to return two looted statues sold by Kapoor, this time to the National Gallery of Australia.

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