KATHMANDU, April 5: Two idols, which were stolen from Nepal during the 1980s and were kept on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, were finally returned to the Department of Archeology (DoA) on Wednesday.
The statues of Lord Buddha of Yatkatol Temple and Uma Maheshwar of Tangalhiti, Patan are presumed to be of 11th and 12th centuries respectively.
The statues were repatriated after Consul General of Nepal Madhu Kumar Marasini made an agreement with the chairperson of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Daniel H Wesis on March 6.
Chief archeologist of the DoA Shyam Sundar Rajbansi informed that the idols arrived in Kathmandu on Wednesday morning and were subsequently handed over to the department.
According to the US museum, the Uma Maheshwar statue was gifted by a donor in 1986 and since then it has been exhibited at the museum. Likewise, the statue of Buddha was gifted in 2015.
After the Nepali authorities informed the museum administration that both the statues were stolen, giving reference to the book 'Stolen Images of Nepal' written by Lain Singh Bangdel - a leading authority on Nepalese art - in 1989 AD, the museum not only removed the idols from display but also agreed to return them to Nepal.
The idols were returned through an air courier. After the idols were handed over to the department, the authorities sent those idols to the National Museum in Chauni for display.