Nepal Now

Recovering Nepal’s stolen art and restoring its culture

October 12, 2021 Marty Logan/Roshan Mishra Season 3 Episode 18
Nepal Now
Recovering Nepal’s stolen art and restoring its culture
Show Notes

I’ve lived in Nepal for over a decade now, and I’m still astonished to see where, and what, Nepalis worship. Temples and shrines are mostly obvious—sometimes because roads or sidewalks will curve sharply to avoid them—but as I’m walking through my neighbourhood I might spot a smudge of auspicious vermillion powder on a tree trunk, a tiny niche in a cement wall, or even on a sidewalk.

That is why I was not surprised when today’s guest, Roshan Mishra of Taragaon Museum and the Global Nepali Museum, stressed that Nepal’s is a living culture. And that is one of the main reasons he is among a group of dedicated culture activists who have just launched a new campaign to repatriate idols and other works of art that were stolen from Nepal after it opened to tourism in the 1950s.

One estimate is that 70-80 percent of ‘gods and goddesses’ were spirited from the country until the 1990s. Activists have been trying for years to get them back, with some success. Mishra says the strength of the new Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign is that it adopted a process to work with the Nepal department of archaeology and other institutions, inside and outside the country. Since it launched informally in January of this year, more than 25 possibly stolen objects have been identified, a “huge achievement”, he says.

Just one note: when describing the launch of the new campaign Roshan refers a couple of times to the DG. That is the director general of Nepal’s department of archaeology.

I’m happy to be posting this episode in the middle of one of Nepal’s biggest festivals—Dasain. To everyone listening who is celebrating, Happy Dasain!


Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign

Global Nepali Museum

Lost Arts of Nepal

Nepal Now social links





Thanks as always to Nikunja Nepal for advice and inspiration.

Music: amaretto needs ice ... by urmymuse (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial  (3.0) license. Ft: Apoxode