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Dr Charlotte Galloway assist in return of sculpture to Chinese Government
Dr Charlotte Galloway with the sculpture of Guanyin
Thursday 5 March 2015
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.