NEW DELHI: The 900-year-old 'Parrot Lady' sculpture from Khajuraho, which was returned by the Canadian government to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is likely to find a place at the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Museum in Khajuraho.
The sandstone piece, which was seized from a person in Canada a few years ago, was handed over by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Modi during his official visit to Canada in April this year. According to ASI sources, the sculpture must have been taken away from one of the unprotected monuments in the Khajuraho region of Madhya Pradesh. However, there was no claimant for it and no police complaint was registered over the sculpture going missing, they added.
"Henceforth, the sculpture, whose origin is Khajuraho, could be sent to the ASI Museum at Khajuraho. Presently, the antiquity piece is in the possession of ASI's Central Antiquity Collection at Purana Qila in New Delhi," an official source said. After the 'Parrot Lady' was received by Prime Minister Modi, the Indian High Commission in Canada flown it back to India, the sources said. Thereafter, the ASI officials in New Delhi took possession of the antiquity in July last week.
The antiquity, depicting a dancer with a parrot on her back, was detained at Edmonton in Alberta in Canada in accordance with the Canada's Cultural Property Export and Import Act in 2010. It was found in the possession of a person, who did not
have proper documents, following which it was seized. The Canadian authorities had alerted the Indian Mission at Ottawa about the detention of the antiquity, as it was made with sandstone, the material used in Khajaraho sculptures.
The Governments of India and Canada had long negotiations under provisions of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, Paris 1970. Ahead of Modi's visit to Canada, an ASI team traveled to Canada and authenticated the sculpture.