7 October 2021
HINDU OR BUDDHIST GODS
A prominent dealer in antiquities has been convicted of selling looted art.
Nancy Weiner sold antiquities she suspected were stolen from archaeological sites in India and Southeast Asia through her New York gallery Art of the Past. Many of the pieces were religious—statues of Hindu or Buddhist gods.
Ms. Weiner falsified the histories of ownership for many objects she sold. According to the New York Times she said, “For decades, I conducted business in a market where buying and selling antiquities with vague or even no provenance was the norm. Obfuscation and silence were accepted responses to questions concerning the source from which an object had been obtained. In short, it was a conspiracy of the willing.”
Images from the New York District Attorney’s Office
Ms. Weiner’s objects had values up to about $1.5 million. They were bought by museums and re-sold by major international auctioneers. Ms. Weiner paid a combined forfeiture and fine amount of $1.2 million.
Arrested in 2016 for criminal possession of stolen property and conspiracy, Ms. Weiner has cooperated with authorities in tracking down the looted antiquities. She could have had a sentence of twenty-five years prison time. They have recovered thousands of objects sold by Ms. Weiner with false provenances.
Earlier this year, the Manhattan District Attorney returned objects sold by Ms. Weiner to the government of Cambodia.