Indian Consulate in New York holds repatriation ceremony for trafficked antiquities stolen from India
New York, NY
Early Buddhist art in India, dating from 200 BCE to 400 CE will be on display at the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) with more than 140 art pieces being presented in the exhibition under a series of “evocative and interlocking” themes to tell a story about pre-Buddhist origins of figurative sculpture in India.
A unique preview and celebratory reception were held at the landmark museum for the opening of the exhibition, attended by Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s Ambassador to the US, Eric Garcetti, US Ambassador to India, Nita M Ambani, founder and chairperson of Reliance Foundation, and Randhir Jaiswal, the Consul General of India in New York, in presence of prominent members of the diaspora and American community.
The exhibition was facilitated by Reliance Industries Limited, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Global, and the Fred Eychaner Fund and themed ‘Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE–400 CE’, will be on display from July 21 to November 13, 2023, at the Met.
Garcetti, who traveled from New Delhi, especially for the launch of this exhibition, told that such occasions highlight the strong India-US ties and emphasized that “Americans in the world are learning more and more about India, about its history, about the religious past, about the ways that we can connect the world better together.”
“This bridge that we are building has never been stronger. Cross that bridge and see India here in New York, and vice versa,” he said.
Prior to the day, a repatriation ceremony was organized in the Consulate General of India in New York where the US handed over a total of 105 trafficked antiquities stolen from India.
Garcetti said this is a “priority” for US President Joe Biden and him and the role of Met has been absolutely essential in identifying stolen artifacts and helping in repatriating them to their rightful nations. Further, he highlighted that India and the US are negotiating a permanent agreement for developing a framework for cultural exchange, repatriation and making sure that it flows both ways.
As per Met, the exhibition is the story of the origins of Buddhist art. Sublime imagery adorned the most ancient monumental religious structures in ancient India, known as stupas. Apart from that objects associated with the Indo-Roman exchange showcase India’s place in early global trade.