The Consulate General of Nepal in New York and The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today the return of two stone sculptures to the Government of Nepal: a 12th century stele of Uma Mahesvara (Shiva and Parvati) and a 10th century Standing Buddha. An agreement to this effect has been signed by Consul General Hon. Madhu Kumar Marasini, and Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO, on behalf of the Government of Nepal and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively.
The stele of Uma Mahesvara comes from the Tangalhiti water fountain in Patan, and was donated to the Museum in 1983. The Standing Buddha, from a memorial stupa in Yatkhatol, Kathmandu, was donated in 2015, and it was in the course of the Museum’s acquisition process that it was brought to light that both objects were listed as stolen in the 1989 publication Stolen Image of Nepal. The Museum contacted the Government of Nepal in 2017 to offer their return, after which the Consulate General of Nepal in New York contacted the Museum and offered to coordinate and facilitate the safe return of the works to Nepal. The sculptures will be returned to Kathmandu in April 2018.
Commented The Metropolitan Museum of Art: “The Museum is committed to the responsible acquisition of archaeological art, and applies rigorous provenance standards both to new acquisitions and the study to works long in its collection in an ongoing effort to learn as much as possible about ownership history. In returning the sculptures to Nepal, the Museum is acting to strengthen the good relationship it has long maintained with scholarly institutions and colleagues in Nepal and to foster and celebrate continued cooperation and dialogue between us.”
Consul General Hon. Madhu Kumar Marasini stated, “The Government of Nepal is grateful to The Met for their research and cooperation, and looks forward to continued dialogue and collaboration with the Museum.”