New York Museum to Return Two Wooden Artworks to Nepal – The Himalayan Times – Nepal’s No.1 English Daily Newspaper

KATHMANDU, January 11

The Rubin Museum of Art in New York is set to return two wooden works of art to Nepal that were lost and ended up in the museum’s collection.

The Consulate General of Nepal and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York announced on Tuesday that two works of art from Rubin’s permanent collection will be returned to Nepal. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Acting Consul General Bishnu Prasad Gautam and Executive Director Dr. Jorrit Britschgi. , on behalf of the Government of Nepal, and the Rubin Museum of Art, respectively, at a ceremony held at the Museum for this purpose.

Works of art due to return include the upper part of a frieze/Torana (17th century) and a flying Apsara/Gandharva garland (14th century). The Torana was lost from the main gate of Yampi Mahavihara/I-Bahi, Patan, Lalitpur. According to museum officials, the work came to the museum in 2010. The Flying Apsara work originated from Keshchandra Mahavihara, Itum Bahal, Kathmandu which was lost in 1999 and added to the museum’s collection in 2003, the statement published by the Nepali Consulate in New York said.

Apsara flight work originates from Keshchandra Mahavihara, Itum Bahal, Kathmandu

Upon receiving the artefacts, the Acting Consul General said, “Rubin’s proactive and warm response and thoughtful collaboration have positively contributed to Nepal’s national efforts to recover and restore lost artefacts”.

He expressed his deep gratitude to the Rubin Museum, its Executive Director, its Board of Trustees, scholars and museum officials for their initiative and cooperation in returning these artifacts to Nepal. He also appreciated the support received from the media, civil society and others in this endeavour.

The Consulate General and the Museum have collaborated to verify the origin of these arts, the possibilities of return to the sites of origin and repatriation. During this process, the Museum engaged two specialists in Nepalese art to further examine and research the known provenance of the artworks. Contributions to determine the ownership and origin of the artworks have been received from the Department of Archeology of the Government of Nepal, the Nepalese Consulate added.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jorrit Britschgi, Executive Director of the Rubin Museum, said: “As custodians of the art in our collection, the Rubin recognizes that we have an ongoing duty to carefully seek out the art and the objects we collect and display. The theft of archaeological objects continues to be a major concern in the art world. Rubin’s collecting activities adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional practice related to provenance We believe it is our responsibility to address and resolve cultural property issues, including helping to facilitate the return of the two objects in question.”

The Consulate General and the Rubin Museum have expressed their willingness to work closely together in promoting art and culture, including Himalayan art, as these collaborative efforts contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage and further strengthen the long-standing people-to-people ties between Nepal and the United States of America.

Christopher S. Washington