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CSEAS Friday Lecture Series. The Thousand Year Old Stolen Burmese Buddha Who Traveled The World And The Saga Of Its Return

Catherine Raymond, Associate Professor of Art History, Northern Illinois University

This presentation will profile the return of a rare Buddha image that was stolen from a remote temple in Bagan in 1988 and would travel around the world before finally being returned to its home country in 2012. This long saga, which involved looters, antique dealers, art historians, lawyers, ambassadors and curators, demonstrates the intricate complexities in restituting objects. The priceless sculpture was transported from Myanmar (also known as Burma) to Bangkok, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Paris. It would be saved from the auction block, before drawing the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and becoming the subject of a precedent setting lawsuit for antiquities.

This research explored the different phases of this complex and successful story but also question how to implement restitutions most efficiently in the 21st century. Indeed, as the themes behind this stolen Buddha’s history have wider resonance for the region. Southeast Asian policymakers have been debating for decades on how to best protect their national heritage from criminals, while fighting for the restitution of stolen artworks. While the level success within each country has varied, much remains to be done in facing the continuing challenge of art trafficking.

If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to attend this event, please reach out to us at least 2 weeks in advance of this event. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
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When and Where

Map Weiser Hall - Room 555

April 2019

11:30am - 12:30pm

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