The National Gallery of Australia has made a lengthy statement on their ongoing ownershop of a 12th century bronze sculpture of Shiva as a result of the man they bought it from facing criminal charges for looting.
The Gallery is quite rightly insisting they have followed all the protocols and await the result of the trial.
[Photo: Shiva as Lord of the Dance
[Nataraja] 11th-12th century
Tamil Nadu, India
Technique: lost-wax casting]
“Awaiting the outcome of the trial”? Too cute by half. They only need balance of probabilities to decide whether it’s a stolen work. Onus of proof for a criminal trial is too high a bar and utterly inappropriate. And how bribe-proof is India’s court system? And why isn’t the work already labelled as of possible illegitimate origin? I had read an article about this stolen work ages ago in an overseas publication, and got a shock when I saw it on display a few months ago. Ron Radford has quite some front. Who does he answer to? Why isn’t Arts Minister Simon Crean taking an interest and protecting Australia’s international reputation?
Should David Eastman face a retrial?