Tuesday, 4 November 2014

National Gallery of Australia 'has a Buddha scandal'

Seated Buddha from the Kushan Dynasty on display at the National Gallery
of Australia in Canberra.
Source: News Corp Australia
Michaela Boland, 'Now the National Gallery of Australia has a Buddha scandal', The Australian November 04, 2014.
An 1800-year-old sandstone Buddha bought by billionaire philanthropist Ros Packer for the National Gallery of Australia is under investigation after questions were raised about how it came to be in Canberra. The 130cm-high Kushan Buddha was bought for $US1.08 million in 2007 from Manhattan dealer Nancy Wiener, a second-generation Asian art seller who specialises in Indian, Southeast Asian and Himalayan works of art. 
The question being raised is where dealer Wiener got it from. The object is one of two Kushan Buddhas for which the collecting history names "a British collector living in Hong Kong", but suspicions are reportedly being raised that they had come onto the Indian market after being recently taken from an ­archaeological site in Mathura, in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradhesh. The Australian alleges that the NGA at the time of purchase had "relied on Ms Wiener’s assurance that the statue had sound provenance and undertook little if any of their own due diligence". Ms Wiener ws unavailable to comment on the newspaper's report.

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