Museums Thefts Heritage France

Paris museum holds on to stolen statues

Musée Guimet negotiating with the Nepalese government over two stelae that have been off display for more than a decade

The 12th-century stone statue of Lord Vishnu was reportedly stolen late 1970s

The Musée Guimet, France’s national museum of Asian art, says that discussions are ongoing with the Nepalese government over two stolen statues housed at the Paris-based museum. “We intend to reach an agreement regarding the artefacts in advance of a major show devoted to Nepalese artefacts planned for 2016,” a museum spokeswoman says.

Nepalese press reports state that the works, which were removed from display more than a decade ago, are a 12th-century stone statue of Lord Vishnu, reportedly stolen late 1970s, and a 13th-century statue of Shiva-Uma, that was looted in 1984.

“We have informally discussed the issue with the Nepalese, and they are well aware that the museum purchased the two stelae in good faith,” the spokeswoman says, adding that the French Ministry of Culture is now reviewing the matter. “The case will [also] have to be examined under the French law system,” she says.

Representatives from the Nepalese Embassy in Paris were unavailable to comment.

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