KATHMANDU – The US has handed over the historical statute of Vasudeva-Kamalaja, also known as Laxmi-Narayan, to Nepal.
Timothy N Dunham, Deputy Assistant Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handed over the statute of Vasudeva-Kamalaja to Nepal’s Ambassador to the US Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada amid a ceremony held at the Nepal’s Embassy in Washington DC.
The statue was reportedly stolen from Narayan temple of Lalitpur in 1984 and was illegally smuggled to the US in the late 80s.
In his book ‘Stolen Images of Nepal, Lain Singh Bangdel, a noted art historial of Nepal, has mentioned that the idol is from the 15th century.
After the idol was spotted in a museum in Texas, the government of Nepal had sought the US government’s help to return the artifact.
The statute of Vasudeva-Kamaleja depicts Hindu deities Vshnu and Goddess Laskshi, in a dual form, bearing attributes and holding symbolic objects that identify both gods. Measuring 33.5×19.25 inches approximately, the statue dates back to the medieval period of Nepal.
According to a statement of the Nepal’s Embassy, the cooperation on the restoration of the artifact took place with the framework of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970. The statue will be transported to Nepal in due course and installed at appropriate place, according to the statement.
Expressing appreciation and gratitude to the US government for its cooperation in reinstating the lost artifact to their original place, Ambassador Khatiwada said that this substantial act of cooperation between the two countries in preservation of the cultural heritages would immensely contribute to further deepening the ties between two countries. Ambassador Khatiwada also expressed hope to receive similar cooperation from all in recovering and reinstating other lost artifacts of Nepal.
Likewise, in his remark, Deputy Assistant Director Dunham said that both Nepal and the US recognize the impact and value of protecting and preserving cultural heritage and will continue to work in partnership to return valuable pieces home.