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The Australian National University

Dr Charlotte Galloway assist in return of sculpture to Chinese Government

Dr Charlotte Galloway with the sculpture of Guanyin

On 5 March the Australian Government formally returned a Qing dynasty image of Guanyin to the Chinese Government. The stone sculpture was flagged by  Australian Customs as a potential illegal import.

Dr Charlotte Galloway from the School of Art Centre for Art History and Theory was called on to offer an opinion on the authenticity of the work in 2013 – if it was a recent reproduction there would be no case to answer. Confirming authenticity is often problematic, however, this work certainly had some elements that appeared ‘genuine’ and Dr Galloway recommended it be assessed by Chinese experts.

Over a year later, she was very pleased to be contacted and advised that after due process, the object was determined to be  authentic, and illegally imported into Australia via the United States. The official hand-over ceremony was held at the Chinese Embassy.

Trade in looted antiquities is a persistent problem and it is encouraging to see the complex laws relating to seizure and return can indeed result in positive outcomes.

» View The Ministry for the Arts press release

Updated: 12 March 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Head of Office / Page Contact:  Web Publisher