National Gallery's Seated Buddha

6 March 2015

I welcome today’s announcement that the National Gallery of Australia has negotiated a settlement for an ancient Indian sculpture in its collection.

Through its Asian Art Provenance Research project, the Gallery has determined that the ownership history of the second-century sculpture Seated Buddha is unclear and has negotiated a settlement with the Nancy Wiener Gallery of New York, from whom the National Gallery originally purchased the sculpture.

The National Gallery will also be working with the Nancy Wiener Gallery to return the sculpture to India where it can go on public display.

Cultural items from overseas will continue to be an important part of our national collections for the understanding and appreciation they bring of the many cultures in our region.

I congratulate the National Gallery of Australia’s commitment to sustaining a national art collection that meets high ethical and international standards.

To support Australia’s public museums, galleries, libraries and archives when acquiring or borrowing objects or works of art, I released the Australian Best Practice Guide to Collecting Cultural Material in 2014. The guide outlines key principles and legal obligations that apply to our collecting institutions when acquiring or borrowing cultural material.