UNESCO Convention against the trade of Cultural Property, 1970


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNESCO Convention against the trade of Cultural Property, 1970

Mains level : Read the attached story

Three culturally significant artefacts — a pair of ‘Dwarapala’ (door guardians) from Tamil Nadu and one ‘Nagaraja (serpent king)’ from either Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh will be returned to India by the Australian government.

What are the artefacts?

While the Dwarapalas from Tamil Nadu are said to be from the 15th century the Nagaraja dated 6th to 8th century is from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh.

Why this return?

  • The strong ties Australian and Indian institutions have made in recent years have helped develop important professional relationships and share culture.
  • The return of these artefacts also underscores the world’s debt to India’s magnificent culture, history and legacy.
  • The historic artefacts play a significant role in modern society by allowing communities to acknowledge and celebrate their shared history and culture.

About the Convention

  • The UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transport of Ownership of Cultural Property is an international treaty.
  • The treaty, signed to combat the illegal trade in cultural items, was signed on 14 November 1970, and came into effect on 24 April 1972.
  • Under the 1970 Convention, cultural property is under protection.
  • Cultural property includes anything of scientific, historical, artistic, and or religiously significant, as defined by Article I of the convention.
  • However, every state can define its own cultural property, as long as it is an item of importance and within the categories defined in Article I.
  • Both India and Australia are party to the Convention.
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