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Huang Lijie
Thursday, Jun 5, 2014


Museum reveals list of 30 items from disgraced NY gallery

The Straits Times | Huang Lijie | Thursday, Jun 5, 2014

A stone sculpture of Nandi, the bull mount of the Hindu god Shiva, on display at the Asian Civilisations Museum’s South Asia gallery.

SINGAPORE - The Asian Civilisations Museum has lifted the veil on the full list of 30 works of art it acquired from a disgraced New York gallery accused of trafficking in millions of dollars' worth of stolen artefacts.

The museum released the list and price of each item exclusively to The Straits Times, in response to queries following the recent publication online of a partial inventory of the artefacts.

It was published on the blog, Chasing Aphrodite, written by former Los Angeles Times reporter Jason Felch who tracks illicit antiquities in museums around the world.

The 30 artefacts, dating from the third to 19th century, include sculptures, paintings, architectural fragments, ancient rattles and manuscripts. They range in price from US$3,500 (S$4,400) to US$650,000 each.

The total value of the acquisitions, bought between 1997 and 2010 from Art of the Past gallery, is $1,328,250.

Some of the items were previously exhibited and one of the artefacts, a stone sculpture of Nandi, the bull mount of the Hindu god Shiva, bought for US$55,250, remains on display at the museum's South Asia gallery.

The list also includes no fewer than four gouache and gold on paper paintings from 1820 that depict scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana and were priced between US$50,000 and US$75,000.

The museum had earlier confirmed it had two of the artefacts, an 11th-century bronze sculpture of the Hindu goddess Uma Parameshvari and a late 18th-century gilded Virgin Mary and Christ altar from Goa, India, after they were named in ongoing court cases in the United States as antiquities that may have been sold illicitly by Art of the Past.

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