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Gallery of stolen antiquities opens at Purana Qila

The new gallery will showcase 195 confiscated and retrieved antiquities as an extension of the Central Antiquity Collection (CAC) at the fort complex.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
August 31, 2019 10:36:50 pm
Gallery of stolen antiquities opens at Purana Qila “These artifacts are our country’s cultural heritage. And it proves our thousands of years of history,” Union Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said. (PTI Photo)

A gallery of confiscated and retrieved antiquities was inaugurated at Purana Qila in the national capital on Saturday by Union Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel.

The new gallery will showcase 195 confiscated and retrieved antiquities as an extension of the Central Antiquity Collection (CAC) at the fort complex.

The CAC currently stores 2,72,824 antiquities, out of which 4,144 are either confiscated or retrieved pieces.

Talking about the retrieval of the historic artifacts, the minister said it was a proud moment for the country.

“These artifacts are our country’s cultural heritage. And it proves our thousands of years of history. We have this proof that our ancestors had this art and they were cultured. These artifacts were stolen, which also proves that those who stole it didn’t have anything like this,” Patel said.

The display in the gallery ranges from proto-historic to modern period and belongs to different provenances.

The wide range of antiquities include stone and metal sculptures, coins, paintings, ivory and copper artifacts.

Bronze sculptures of Parvati and Sridevi from the Chola period (12th-13th century), Mother Goddess of the Mauryan period, and Mithuna sculptures recovered from New York are some of the exclusive exhibits at the gallery.

The Archaeological Survey of India has so far retrieved 44 stolen antiquities from the US, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Canada and England. The central agency is in the process to get 119 more antiquities back to the country, the ministry said in a statement.

Patel also credited the retrieval of the artifacts to improved India’s foreign relations.

“We have been able to retrieve these antiquities from foreign countries because our relationships have improved in the last 5 years,” he said.

The gallery will remain open for public from 10 am to 5 pm on all days except Friday.

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