The Embassy of Nepal sent an 8th century standing stone statue of Lord Buddha and a 10th century wooden statue of Nritya Devi to the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Nepal. Honorary Consul General of Nepal in San Diego Rishi Punnakhar Dhakal sponsored the shipping of these statues.
According to a press release issued by the Embassy of Nepal in United States, the statue of Nritya Devi was returned to the Embassy by a private collector. Likewise, a statue of standing Buddha was returned to the Embassy by Hollywood producer Michael Phillips. Dhakal, on behalf of the Embassy, received the statue of Lord Buddha from Mr. Phillips in Los Angeles on April 12, 2023.
Originally, the statue of Nritya Devi was located at Itum Bahal, Lalitpur, and the statue of Lord Buddha was from Machhindra Bahal, Bugmati, Lalitpur. Both of these statues were stolen from Nepal in the 1970s and ended up with the private art collectors after passing through various hands.
The Embassy extends its sincere gratitude to Mr. Michael Phillips for returning the standing stone statue of Lord Buddha to the Government of Nepal. Similarly, the Embassy expresses its special thanks to Honorary Consul General Rishi Punnakhar Dhakal for sponsoring the shipping of the statues to Nepal.
As part of its efforts to recover and repatriate the lost and stolen heritages of Nepal, the Embassy has been actively engaged with the relevant agencies of government of Nepal and the United States, art researchers, heritage recovery campaigners, media and private individuals. The Embassy expresses its sincere thanks to all these agencies and individuals in these efforts.
Along with these two statues, the Embassy has been able to send altogether seven artifacts to Nepal within a period of a year.