Friday, July 19, 2019

British Museum to return Buddhist heads looted in Afghan war

By Mark Brown
The fourth-century sculptural heads were discovered stuffed in wooden crates at Heathrow airport in 2002. Photograph: Trustees of the British Museum
Fourth-century Buddhist terracotta heads probably hacked off by the Taliban and found stuffed in poorly made wooden crates at Heathrow are to be returned to Afghanistan where they will be star museum exhibits. The British Museum gave details on Monday of one of the most significant repatriation cases it has dealt with relating to the illegal looting of artefacts from Afghanistan and Iraq. Nine sculptural heads and a torso were intercepted at Heathrow in 2002 after a flight from Peshawar in Pakistan. After a long legal process, they were sent to the British Museum last year to be analysed, conserved and catalogued. [More]