Return of stolen items to Nepal

Friday 18 March saw the repatriation of cultural artefacts to Nepal at the Embassy of Nepal, London. The Metropolitan Police returned a 16th Century carved wooden Torana and a carved stone sculpture from the 18th Century, both of which had been stolen from temples in the Kathmandu Valley in the 1980s and found in a private gallery.

Photographs of the artefacts were found on the gallery website by the cultural repatriation activist, Lost Arts of Nepal, which tweeted of their discovery and the post was flagged to our Dr Emiline Smith.

Emiline played a vital role in the repatriation process and was thanked for her hard work by the Ambassador, Gyan Chandra Acharya. Emiline said: 'Nepal has shown great commitment to pursuing repatriation of its foreign-held cultural objects. Civil activism has played a key role in effecting this: the efforts of many, among which Lost Arts of Nepal and the Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign, have created global awareness for the need for looted Nepali cultural objects to be returned to their rightful home.'

'I am deeply committed to support Nepali efforts in protecting and repatriating its rich cultural heritage, and hope we can all continue to fight to reinstate access, agency and power over their living heritage to the Nepali people.'

Emiline also spoke to Newsfirst Sri Lanka on the illegal export and trafficking of Sri Lanka's cultural heritage and has written a piece for Hyperallergic on The Ongoing Looting of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Heritage.


First published: 29 March 2022

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