London, A 12th-century statue of Buddha stolen

from India nearly 60 years ago is to be returned to the country after it

was discovered at a trade fair in the UK.

The bronze sculpture was one of 14 statues ransacked from

the Archaeological Museum in Nalanda, eastern India, in 1961.

It is believed it changed hands several times over the years

before eventually being sent to a London antiques dealer for sale.

The sculpture will be handed to the Indian high commissioner to

the UK, YK Sinha, during a ceremony on Wednesday coinciding with

India’s independence day celebrations.

The statue was identified at a trade fair in March by members

of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA), an

organisation working to preserve cultural heritage, and the India Pride

Project, which aims to recover stolen artefacts.

Police said the current owner and dealer were unaware of the

statue’s history and agreed for it to be returned to India.

Michael Ellis, the UK minister for arts, heritage and tourism, said

Britain was one of the first countries to recover one of the 14 elusive

Buddha statues.

Numerous objects from the 80-year-old Sicilian’s former

dealings are believed to still be in the ancient art market, and

identification usually results in their surrender and repatriation, the

British Guardian newspaper reported.

Source: Oman News Agency