Cultural Heritage News

U.S. court suspends auction of ancient Iranian relief

October 28, 2017

A Green Light for Art Criminals?

By SCOTT REYBURN | September 1, 2017

The Art World Calls This Man When Masterpieces Go Missing

By  ALANNA MARTINEZ |  August 31 2017

Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors

by TOM MASHBERG |  August 1 2017

When Nigeria Celebrated Return of Stolen Artifacts

By NURUDEEN OYEWOLE |  July 16 2017

Why the Feds Were Smart Not to Throw the Book at Hobby Lobby for Buying Iraqi Loot

by LEILA AMINEDDOLEH |  July 12 2017

Hobby Lobby To Forfeit Smuggled Iraqi Antiquities

by RICHARD GONZALES |  July 5 2017

Satellite Images Reveal Mosul's Cultural Destruction

by KRISTIN ROMEY |  June 23 2017

The art born of destruction

by I.S. |  June 7 2017

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  • 08 Jun 2016 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Return Of Thousand-Year-Old Bronze Statue To Republic Of India

    Statue of Hindu God Ganesha Was Stolen From a Temple in Tamil Nadu in 2006

    Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the return of a stolen 11th or 12th Century bronze statue of Ganesha to the Republic of India, pursuant to an agreement between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Toledo Museum of Art.  The Ganesha was returned today along with several other stolen antiquities at a repatriation ceremony with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch at Blair House in Washington, D.C.

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “A decade ago, a valued piece of India’s cultural heritage was stolen and sold in the United States.  We are proud to have played a role in returning this treasure to the Indian people, and reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that the United States does not become a marketplace for stolen art and antiquities.”

    The statue of Ganesha, also known in Tamil Nadu as Vinayagar, is a bronze statue dating from the Chola dynasty period (1080-1150 A.D.).  The Ganesha was stolen from the Sivan temple at Sree Puranthan Village in the Ariyalur District of Tamil Nadu in 2006, and obtained by Subhash Kapoor, an antiquities dealer in Manhattan.  Kapoor has been charged with various offenses by both Indian authorities and the New York County District Attorney’s Office for his alleged involvement in trafficking in stolen antiquities, and is currently awaiting trial in Tamil Nadu.  Kapoor sold the Ganesha to the Toledo Museum of Art (the “Museum”) in 2006.

  • 07 Jun 2016 12:01 PM | Anonymous
    USA Returns Stolen Treasures to India
    WASHINGTON (CN) — The United States on Monday returned more than 200 stolen artifacts looted from cultural sites in India, worth more than $100 million, some of them dating back 2,000 years.

         "Among the pieces returned is a statue of Saint Manikkavichavakar, a Hindu mystic and poet from the Chola period (circa 850 AD to 1250 AD) stolen from the Sivan Temple in Chennai, India, which is valued at $1.5 million," the U.S. Attorney General's Office said in a statement.


  • 06 Jun 2016 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    A major Native American site is being looted. Will Obama risk armed conflict to save it?

    By Juliet Eilperin


    June 5 at 8:48 PM

    RIM OF CEDAR MESA, Utah — For centuries, humans have used the red sandstone canyons here as a way to mark their existence.

    First came archaic hunter-gatherers who worked in Glen Canyon Linear, a crude geometrical style dating back more than 3,500 years. Then about 2,000 years later, early ancestral Pueblo farmers of the Basketmaker period used more subtle lines to produce a man in headdress. A little more than 700 years ago came their descendants, who used the same kind of hard river stone to make drawings of bighorn sheep and a flute player in the ancient rock.

    Now, President Obama is weighing whether and how he can leave his own permanent imprint on history by designating about 2 million acres of land, known as the Bears Ears, as a national monument. 

    A major Native American site is being looted. Will Obama risk armed conflict to save it?


  • 31 May 2016 10:58 AM | Anonymous

    Acoma shield being auctioned in Paris

    By Michael Coleman / Journal Washington Bureau
    Monday, May 30th, 2016 at 12:05am

    WASHINGTON – Acoma Pueblo Gov. Kurt Riley was nearing the end of an impassioned, public plea to the French government last week when his emotions finally overcame him.

    As the Acoma official stood in the soaring atrium of the National Museum of the American Indian at an emergency meeting last week to pressure the French government to halt the impending sale of a sacred Acoma Pueblo artifact by a French auction house, Riley began to weep.

    “As you can tell, when these items leave our pueblo this is how much it hurts,” Riley said, choking back tears. “This is how much it hurts my people to see their cultural patrimony put on the internet or go up for sale.”

  • 16 May 2016 8:45 AM | Anonymous

    Capacity building in Cuba on protection of the underwater heritage


    11 May 2016/ UNESCO Havana/Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

    The city of Santiago de Cuba will host the Foundation Course on Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage, using Admiral Pascual Cervera’s sunken fleet as a case study, from 16 to 27 May.

    The capacity building is organized in the framework of the project “Protection and management of underwater and coastal cultural heritage for job creation in Santiago de Cuba”, financed by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and coordinated by the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, jointly with the National Cultural Heritage Council of Cuba, the Centre for Underwater Cultural and Natural Heritage Management and Conservation of Santiago de Cuba (founded after the project had started), and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO, among other national stakeholders, and with the support of the AECID Technical Cooperation Office in Cuba
  • 16 May 2016 8:40 AM | Anonymous

    Syrian agency fights to save country’s archaeological heritage

    By Slobodan Lekic

    Stars and Stripes

    Published: May 13, 2016

    DAMASCUS, Syria — The director of Syria’s antiquities agency patted the head of a dark-grey falcon statuette in a corner of his office and smiled broadly.

    “This is a fake antiquity. It was meant for American buyers,” said Maamoun Abdulkarim, general director of Antiquities and Museums. “The forgers intended it to be sold as the real, historic Maltese Falcon, not the movie prop.”

  • 16 May 2016 8:38 AM | Anonymous

    CHTHO asks Iranians abroad to report smuggled artifacts

    May 14, 2016

    TEHRAN– Iran’s tourism chief Masoud Soltanifar asked Iranians abroad to report smuggled artifacts and antiquities to Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Organization (CHTHO).

    In an announcement, he asked Iranians who live in different countries to give information about stolen Iranian artifacts existed in other countries to the organization via its website

    A collection of ancient Persian seals, which had been smuggled to the U.S. in 2002 have been returned to Iran recently.

    Last year, Italy returned to Iran some 30 stolen artifacts that had been smuggled to the European country during the past 10 years. 

  • 09 May 2016 9:39 AM | Anonymous

    Greece looks to international justice to regain Parthenon marbles from UK

    As 200th anniversary of artefacts’ removal approaches, Greek culture minister says government will appeal to courts and the likes of UN Helena Smith in Athens

    Greece has not abandoned the idea of resorting to international justice to repatriate the Parthenon marbles and is investigating new ways in which it might bring a claim against the British Museum.

    As campaigners prepare to mark the 200th anniversary of the antiquities’ “captivity” in London, Athens is working at forging alliances that would further empower its longstanding battle to retrieve the sculptures.

    “We are trying to develop alliances which we hope would eventually lead to an international body like the United Nations to come with us against the British Museum,” the country’s culture minister, Aristides Baltas, revealed in an interview.

  • 02 May 2016 9:32 AM | Anonymous

    Drive to bring home stolen heritage

    India Pride Project aims to restitute artefacts smuggled out of country

    Published: 20:40 April 29, 2016 Gulf News

    By Sandhya R Rajayer Special to Gulf News

    New Delhi: In 2003, Jaipur-based art dealer Vaman Ghiya was arrested and confessed to having stolen and exported more than 10,000 pieces of art, including paintings, sculptures, idols and a dismantled Mughal pavilion the size of a house. Ghiya was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment, But in January 2014 that conviction was quashed by an appeals court because of procedural irregularities during the police prosecution.

    Then in 2011, Indian-born Subhash Kapoor who owned the Art of The Past art gallery in New York, was arrested after US Homeland Security investigators raided Kapoor’s warehouses and found a cache of 2,622 stolen artefacts and evidence that led to an illicit business worth more than a $100 million (Dh367 million). He is at present on trial in Chennai. But the heritage art community fears that justice may not be served this time either.

  • 28 Apr 2016 11:00 AM | Anonymous
    Stolen Buddhist Artifact Returned to Pakistan



         MANHATTAN (CN) — Prosecutors said a 2nd-century Buddhist sculpture was returned to Pakistan after an art dealer's plan to sell the stolen artifact for $1.1 million was foiled.
         Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Wednesday that the Kushan Period artifact, which depicts the "footprint of the Buddha," was given back to the country during a repatriation ceremony.
         The Buddhapada sculpture was stolen from an archeological site in Pakistan's Swat Region in the 1980s and was recovered after this year's arrest and prosecution of art dealer Tatsuzo Kaku, according to Vance.
         Prosecutors say Kaku, 70, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

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