Norway returns illegally-imported Buddha statue to Myanmar

Nay Pyi Taw, July 7 (IANS) Norway has returned a Buddha statue to Myanmar, the place of origin of the cultural artefact, after the Norwegian Customs identified the statue as illegally imported in 2011, the media reported on Friday.

The statue was handed over back by visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende to Myanmar Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture Thura U Aung Ko here on Thursday, signifying an important event in cultural cooperation between the two countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

After years of research of the seized Buddha statue by the Norwegian Customs, it was identified by experts as originating from Myanmar’s Mandalay region and was estimated to be between 150 and 200 years old.

In view of good relations between the two countries, representatives of Norway and Myanmar met at the Headquarters of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in Paris in January this year to formalise the statue’s return to Myanmar.

Both Norway and Myanmar are parties to the Unesco 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

From 2016 until its repatriation, the Myanmar Buddha statue remained on display at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo and upon its return home, it will be exhibited at the National Museum in Nay Pyi Taw.

–IANS

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