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Bélier Malien – France, Jacques Chirac et Mali
En novembre 1996, le Président de la République Française Jacques Chirac reçoit en cadeau un quadrupède en terre cuite aux formes massives et stylisées. L’objet, qui provenait d’un site pillé au Mali, sera restitué sous forme de don après négociations en janvier 1998.
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Durga Idol – India and Germany
In the 1990s, a 10th century idol representing the Indian Goddess Durga was reported as stolen from a temple in Tengpora, Pulwana in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. The idol was found at the Linden Museum in Stuttgart in 2012. After presenting the evidence of its provenance, the idol was returned to India on “ethical grounds”.
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Mandat signé par Jean Calvin - République et canton de Genève et Sotheby's
En novembre 2016, il est porté à la connaissance de l’archiviste d’État de Genève qu’un document datant du XVIe siècle et volé probablement au XIXe siècle figure sur le catalogue de la prochaine vente aux enchères de Sotheby’s à New York. Un accord d’indemnisation est signé le 1er septembre 2017 entre Sotheby’s, le possesseur et deux intervenants privés. Le même jour, un accord distinct de restitution est signé entre la République et canton de Genève, Sotheby’s et le possesseur.
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Inakayal Human Remains – Argentina, Museo de La Plata and Tehuelche People
Inakayal was a leader of the Tehuelche people, a native tribe of Patagonia (Argentina). In 1884, he was captured by the Argentinian army. After his death in 1888 his remains became part of the collection of the Museo de La Plata.
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Two Bronze Animal Heads – China and Pierre Bergé
In February of 2009, Christie’s offered at auction two 18th-century bronze fountainheads – a rabbit and a rat – owned by the estate of Yves Saint Laurent and his longtime-partner Pierre Bergé. Stolen from the Old Summer Palace by British and French forces during the Second Opium War in 1860, the two heads’ sale provoked controversial international debate, inspiring a Chinese national to bid upon the bronzes at auction and refuse payment. In June of 2013, François-Henri Pinault, owner of Christie’s, returned to China the fountainheads in an effort to strengthen diplomatic and trade relations between France and China.
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Dancing Shiva Statue – India and National Gallery of Australia
In 2006, New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor arranged the theft and illegal exportation of a 900-year old bronze statue of the Dancing Shiva from a small temple in Southern India. In 2008, the National Gallery of Australia bought the statue for AUD$5.6 million.
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15 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Princeton University Art Museum
The Italian Government and the Princeton University Art Museum signed an agreement on 30 October 2007 that resolved the question of ownership of 15 archaeological objects in the Museum’s collection. This accord was the culmination of negotiations that were initiated by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities following the discovery of substantial evidence demonstrating the illicit provenance of the requested antiquities.
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Sarah Baartman – France and South Africa
Sarah Baartman, a South African woman of Khoisan origin, also known as the “Hottentot Venus”, was exhibited as a freak show attraction in London and Paris in the 19th century. When she died, her body was dissected and her remains were exposed at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
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Victorious Youth – Italy v. J. Paul Getty Museum
The “Victorious Youth” – a life-size bronze statue created sometime between the 4th and 2nd century BC – is at the centre of an ongoing dispute between Italy and the J. Paul Getty Museum. This statue was discovered in 1964, caught up in the nets of a fishing boat working out of the port of Fano on the Adriatic coast of Italy.
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Marienkirche Window Panels – Germany and Russia, State Hermitage Museum, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
In 1997, 111 panels originally forming a window of the St. Marienkirche (St Mary Church) in Frankfurt-on-the-Oder were located in the Russian State Hermitage Museum. They were brought to Russia by Soviet troops following World War II. In 2001, after difficult negotiations, Russia agreed to return the panels to Germany. In exchange, the German Government offered to finance the reconstruction of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God located near Novgorod. A second group of 6 panels found in 2005 in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts was returned to Germany in 2008.
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