“Blood Buddhas,” a film by Nikhil Singh Rajput, will premier in New Delhi, India, on February 9. The documentary addresses India’s quest to return and repatriate artifacts that were “purloined during colonial times,” including multiple ancient Buddha statues. The film features extensive research and interviews that seek to answer: How do looted religious objects from temples across India come back home? Who are the people and the agencies that are making this happen?
Antiquities Coalition Chairman Deborah Lehr, who is featured in the documentary, helps answer these central questions. Lehr confirms that the trade in Indian antiquities, both licit and illicit, has been steadily increasing, and that the illicit trade includes artifacts trafficked as a means to finance violent extremism both in India and around the globe.
Tess Davis, Antiquities Coalition Executive Director, will be in India for the premier of “Blood Buddhas” to discuss the film, speak about the role of the illicit antiquities trade in terrorist financing, as well as engage in a broader conversation about “Bringing Our Gods Home.”