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Australia to return 1,800- year-old stolen Buddha statue to India

NGA director Gerard Vaughan told News Corp on Friday that the sculpture would likely be returned to Indian government officials when they visit Australia for an Indian cultural festival in September.

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Lord Buddha statue. Image Source: www.travelweekly-asia.com
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  • The second-century statue stands at 1.3 metres tall and was purchased from Asian art specialist Nancy Wiener by billionaire Ros Packer, on behalf of the NGA, in 2007
  • The condition of the statue was so good that it was initially thought to be a fake
  • The NGA would be reviewing all 5,000 Asian antiquities in its collection due to the “culture” of failing to adequately check the background of its dealers

CANBERRA: A 1,800-year-old Buddha statue which was displayed in the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) is being prepared for its return to India, after it was found to have been purchased from an illegal antiquity trafficker, authorities said on Friday, July 22.

Stollen Buddha Statue at National Gallery of Australia. Image Source: www.theaustralian.com.au
Stolen Buddha Statue at National Gallery of Australia. Image Source: www.theaustralian.com.au

The second-century statue stands at 1.3 metres tall, and was purchased from Asian art specialist Nancy Wiener by billionaire Ros Packer, on behalf of the NGA, in 2007, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, documents revealed that NGA staff simply accepted Wiener’s story of how she came to be in possession of the antiquity, unaware that it was in fact stolen from an archaeological site in Mathura, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

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NGA director Gerard Vaughan told News Corp on Friday that the sculpture would likely be returned to Indian government officials when they visit Australia for an Indian cultural festival in September.

“There is a high-level delegation coming in September so we’re investigating whether that will be the moment of handover,” Vaughan said.

Dr. Gerard Vaughan, Director of NGA. Image Source: http://nga.gov.au/
Dr Gerard Vaughan, Director of NGA. Image Source: http://nga.gov.au/

“Or (we) simply come to an agreement with India, because it is no longer our property, whether it can just be sent back to India. “

The condition of the statue was so good that it was initially thought to be a fake, though when experts from the Archaeological Survey of India examined the piece, it was revealed to be genuine.

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“One of the reasons was because it’s of great age and was in very good condition. Good condition can denote a fake,” Vaughan said.

“It was good for them to come back to us and say it was authentic and certainly something that should be returned to India, ” he said.

5,000 Asian antiquities to be showcased in NGA. Image Source: camd.org.au
5,000 Asian antiquities to be showcased in NGA. Image Source: camd.org.au

According to Vaughan, the NGA would be reviewing all 5,000 Asian antiquities in its collection due to the “culture” of failing to adequately check the background of its dealers.

The news follows the arrest last month of one of the gallery’s main suppliers, Subhash Kapoor, who was charged with illegal trafficking of antiquities. (IANS)

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Fujifilm’s Retro-Style Camera in India For Rs 49,999

"FUJIFILM X-A5" is the smallest and lightest mirrorless digital camera within the "X Series" zoom lens kit, the company claimed

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Fujifilm's Retro-Style Camera in India For Rs 49,999
Fujifilm's Retro-Style Camera in India For Rs 49,999. (IANS)

Imaging technology company Fujifilm on Tuesday launched its retro-style mirrorless digital camera “X-A5” in India for Rs 49,999.

The camera comes with a 180-degree tilting rear liquid crystal display (LCD) screen, built-in Bluetooth, 24.2MP Advanced Photo System type-C (APS-C) sensor, phase detection auto-focus (PDAF), extended battery life and a faster image processing engine.

“‘FUJIFILM X-A5’ is an affordable solution to provide a refined photography experience among amateurs, particularly designed for Instagrammers and for those who consider photography as a lifestyle,” Haruto Iwata, Managing Director, Fujifilm India, said in a statement.

Also Read: Google to Train 8,000 Indian Journalists on Fact-checking

Other features of the camera include a newly-developed compact wide-angle zoom lens and new user interface, film stimulation modes and a broader range of video functions with 4K capabilities.

“FUJIFILM X-A5” is the smallest and lightest mirrorless digital camera within the “X Series” zoom lens kit, the company claimed.

The camera is available in brown, pink and black colours on Amazon India. (IANS)