Cultural Heritage News

  • 30 Jul 2015 2:06 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    India demands return of objects stolen from its temples

     New Delhi  |  30 July 2015  |  AMA  |  Tweet  |  LinkedIn

    During her upcoming visit in India, Angela Merkel will provide the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, a statue of the deity Durga. This statue was stolen from an Indian temple and purchased by a German museum. India has called for the restitution of several objects that were pillaged from archaeological sites.

    Subhash Kapoor, an American gallery owner of Indian origin, sold the statue of the deity Durga, valued at $250,000, to a German museum. He was arrested in 2011 for having resold a series of pieces stolen from Indian temples. 30 of these objects were notably purchased by the Asian Civilizations Museum of Singapore, such as a Buddha statue dating from the thirteenth century, and manuscripts of the Mahabharata that are over four centuries old. India is in talks with Singapore to have these archaeological artefacts returned, but it must nonetheless show proof that the pieces were stolen.

  • 30 Jul 2015 2:04 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Grassley sponsoring bill to restrict ISIS profiting from sale of antiquities

    Grassley sponsoring bill to restrict ISIS profiting from sale of antiquities

    Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to put the “moral authority of criminal law” behind stopping ISIS from funding terrorism

    James Q. Lynch, The Gazette

    July 29, 2015 | 6:12 pm

    CEDAR RAPIDS — Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to put the “moral authority of criminal law” behind stopping ISIS from funding terrorism through the sale of historical artifacts.

    He’s part of a bipartisan effort to restrict ISIS trafficking in stolen artifacts, including the sale of those antiquities in the United States. ISIS, he said, has pillaged historical artifacts while ransacking cities and then sold those antiquities on the black market. The Congressional Research Services estimates black market sales of artifacts may be ISIS’ second-leading source of revenue behind the sale of oil.

  • 27 Jul 2015 8:59 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    ICE, CBP seize illegally imported ancient Roman coins

    CLEVELAND – One hundred and ninety ancient Roman coins that were illegally imported into the United States from the United Arab Emirates were seized by officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

  • 27 Jul 2015 8:26 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    The Ultimate Temple Raider?: Inside an Antiquities-Smuggling Operation


    The 30 or so guests enjoying spring rolls and white wine were gathered in a small third-floor gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate Subhash Kapoor, a convivial Manhattan art dealer who had donated 58 miniature drawings of Indian aristocrats, deities and beasts.

    On this spring evening in 2009, Mr. Kapoor, 60, owner of Art of the Past on Madison Avenue, stood atop the Indian art world. After his 35 years in business, museums and collectors were paying seven figures for his Hindu, Buddhist and South Asian antiquities. A 900-year-old dancing Shiva went to the National Gallery of Australia, a thousand-year-old bronze Ganesha to the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. Now, he was being toasted by the Met for a gift of artworks from his homeland.

  • 23 Jul 2015 2:07 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Penn Museum works to document, preserve Syrian cultural sites

    By Lavi Ben Dor

    The Syrian Civil War, which has devastated the nation since 2011, has not only exacted a heavy toll on the nation’s people, but also on the archives of its rich culture and history.

    Cultural heritage sites such as historic cities, museums and archeological excavations, many of which are hundreds if not thousands of years old, have often been caught in the crossfire of the violence that has swept the nation or even been specifically targeted by various factions. Many have suffered significant damage, which is why the Penn Museum’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center has been leading efforts to protect and document these historic landmarks.

  • 23 Jul 2015 2:03 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Stolen art treasures go on show in Chinese museum after being returned by France

    Gold ornaments taken from an archaeological dig now on show at museum in Gansu province

    PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 July, 2015, 3:30pm

    UPDATED : Thursday, 23 July, 2015

    More than 30 ancient gold ornaments went on show in a Chinese museum this week after Paris quietly insisted a billionaire collector and France’s top antique dealer return them on the grounds that they were stolen.

    The move came 15 years after the two men donated the works to a Paris museum following an intervention by France’s then President Jacques Chirac, an admirer of Asian art.

  • 20 Jul 2015 5:24 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Syria's struggle to save the past

    By Ben Wedeman, CNN

    (CNN)It all began in his pizzeria in Spain. That's where Syrian archaeologist Isber Sabrine was able to scrape together enough money to launch his group, Heritage for Peace.

    A 29-year-old archaeologist from the hilltop town of Safita, in western Syria, Sabrine is using modern technology to trace and document the looting and destruction of his country's ancient heritage.

    Working from an office in Berlin, he runs a network in Syria of around 150 volunteers -- archaeologists, architects, students and simply concerned citizens -- who often pose as antiquities buyers to see what has been stolen in the course of Syria's now more than four-year uprising. He communicates with them via Skype when the Internet in Syria is working, which isn't often.

    "They go to the locals and they say look, we are interested. They cannot buy, but at least they make photos and they send us photos," says Sabrine. "Like this we have a list of looted materials from Syria."

  • 14 Jul 2015 2:07 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    German Chancellor will give 'stolen' Durga back to India: ASI says idol was smuggled out of the country... and it wants 30 more back from Singapore

    By Atir Khan

    Published: 19:41 EST, 13 July 2015 | Updated: 19:41 EST, 13 July 2015

    When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits New Delhi in October, she will hand over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a stolen heritage Durga idol as a goodwill gesture. 

    The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is chalking out modalities for the ceremony. 

    The government agency has managed to convince the German government that the ancient idol was stolen from India and sold to a German museum at a cost of $250,000 (Rs 1.5 crore). 

    Read more:

  • 13 Jul 2015 8:33 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)


    US antique collector surrenders stolen Manickavasagar statue

    The author has posted comments on this article Jul 8, 2015, 11.22PM IST

    By S Vijay Kumar

    BENGALURU: Last week an antique collector in the US came forward to surrender the Manickavasagar statue he bought from art thief Subhash Kapoor. It seems some momentum is building up on bringing back Kapoor's loot after years of media attention and investigative effort including by heritage enthusiasts. 

  • 08 Jul 2015 1:19 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Iraq celebrates return of antiquities, appeals for world help

    Dominic Evans| Reuters

    BAGHDAD: Iraq celebrated Wednesday the return of hundreds of historical artifacts, from an ancient Assyrian statue to a 20th century presidential tea set, which were looted, lost or loaned abroad over recent decades.

    The recovery of the 800 items from museums, universities and auction houses in the United States, Italy and Jordan marks a small victory for Iraqi authorities struggling to protect their heritage from theft and destruction by ISIS fighters. 

    Iraq celebrates return of antiquities, appeals for world help

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