4 Historic Nepali Sculptures Return Home from USA, Warmly Welcomed in Kathmandu

The Consulate General of Nepal in New York, in collaboration with Newa Guthi New York, successfully repatriated four priceless Nepali sculptures dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries earlier this week. The artifacts, comprising two gilded Bhairav masks and two stone images representing Uma-Maheshwara and Durga, were received with honor in Kathmandu on January 22nd and 28th, 2024.

The Department of Archaeology of the Government of Nepal extended a warm welcome to these repatriated antiquities, along with officials from Newa Guthi New York, at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. These artifacts, stolen from Nepal around three decades ago, were recovered with the collaborative efforts of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York and the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations in New York. The sculptures were officially handed over to the Consulate General on December 4, 2023.

The successful repatriation process involved coordination between the Consulate General, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, and the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Nepal. The Consulate General expressed gratitude for the collaboration and support received from various government bodies and community organizations.

Following the recovery of these invaluable antiquities, the Consulate General invited community organizations and stakeholders to participate in the initiative to ship these treasures back to Nepal. Responding to the call, Newa Guthi New York, a community organization of Nepali-Americans of Newari descent residing in the New York area, played a pivotal role by sponsoring the shipment and insurance costs. Additionally, the organization provided an escort of two senior officials to accompany the sculptures on their voyage back home.

The Consulate General expressed deep gratitude to all parties involved in the initiative, highlighting their crucial contributions to ongoing efforts aimed at locating, recovering, and reinstating Nepal’s lost historical and cultural treasures. The repatriation of these sculptures marks a significant milestone in preserving Nepal’s rich heritage and history, setting an example for international cooperation in the protection of cultural artifacts.