KATHMANDU, MARCH 06
Statue of Vasudeva-Kamalaja, one of the stolen and lost statues of Nepal, has returned to Nepali custody after nearly 40 years.
The US Embassy, Diplomatic Security Services Overseas Criminal Investigations, Nepali Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Dallas Museum of Art had conducted months-long joint investigation for the search.
According to the press release issued by the US Embassy on March 06, the statue handover ceremony was conducted at the Nepali Embassy in Washington, DC on March 05, in presence of Nepali Ambassador to the United States, Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada, and FBI and US State Department officials.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador Randy Berry said, "I'm thrilled the Laxmi-Narayana statue will finally return to where it belongs – in the hands of Nepalis. The United States will work with Nepal to see other items, which are so important to Nepali culture, religion, and history, returned. I hope other governments, museums, and collectors do the same."
I'm thrilled the Laxmi-Narayana statue has finally returned to where it belongs–in the hands of Nepalis. The US will work w/ Nepal to see other items, which are so important to Nepali culture, religion, & history, returned. I hope other govts, museums, collectors do the same. pic.twitter.com/oKqkoqbisT- Ambassador Randy Berry (@USAmbNepal) March 6, 2021
The artifact is said to be dated between the 12th and 15th centuries. It is a bronze idol of Laxmi-Narayana, or Vasudeva-Kamalaja. The rare composite deity's right side is male, representing Narayana, and left side is female, representing Laxmi.
It disappeared from Patan in 1984. Until then the statue was being worshipped in its temple.
It has been reported that the statue was sold at auction and subsequently loaned to the Dallas Museum of Art. Two years ago, artist Joy Lyn Davis, who was tracking stolen art of Nepal for a project, found the statue at the Dallas Museum through an image search, ultimately leading to its finding and return.