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India retrieves 29 stolen artefacts from Australia ahead of Modi-Morrison meet

These include a 500-year-old statute of Hanuman from Australia, the sculpture of Avalokiteshwara Padamapani from Italy and Yogini idol from UK

India retrieves 29 stolen artefacts from Australia ahead of Modi-Morrison meet
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India has retrieved 29 pieces of centuries old stolen artefacts from Australia and Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed them on Monday ahead of his virtual meet with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, officials said.

PM Modi and PM Morrison held a virtual summit today where they reviewed the progress on various initiatives under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and Australia.

The retrieval of artefacts comes as part of India's ongoing effort to get stolen heritage sculptures and paintings returned from other nations, officials said.

The artefacts returned include Shiva Bhairava, a 9th - 10th century CE sandstone sculpture from Rajasthan, the child-saint Sambandar, a 12th century CE bronze statute from Tamil Nadu and a painting of Shiva and Parvati from 1830-40, belonging to Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. Some of these artefacts went missing over 53 years ago.

A total of 241 such antiquities have been recovered since 1972; 228 of these in the last eight years from the UK, Singapore, Germany, Canada the US and Australia. Of these, 157 artefacts have been brought back from the US.

Three more have been retrieved by Indian authorities in Italy, UK and Australia and will be received by the country in the coming week, the official mentioned above added.

These include a 500-year-old statute of Hanuman from Australia, the sculpture of Avalokiteshwara Padamapani from Italy and Yogini idol from UK.

"Avalokiteshwara Padamapani idol went missing from the country's most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, the Devisthan Kundalpur Temple in Bihar more than two decades ago. The statue depicts Buddha holding the stem of a blossoming lotus in his left hand, with two female attendants below his feet. It was sculpted for the temple sometime between the eighth and 12th centuries," the official said.

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