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On Wednesday morning at the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver the Parrot Lady safely into the hands of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will take her back to India where she belongs.

Mone Cheng/Library of Parliament

The Indians didn't even know the Parrot Lady was missing.

And they still aren't sure where she came from or how she got to Canada – though it certainly seems there were shady elements at work.

But, on Wednesday morning at the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver her safely into the hands of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will take her back to India where she belongs.

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The Parrot Lady is a 900-year-old, life-sized, sandstone sculpture that was carved for placement in one of the Khajuraho temples that form a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Madhya Pradesh state in central India.

The Parrot Lady is what is known as a naayika, or heroine. She is voluptuous, scantily clad, posed in manner that is a tad saucy, and has a parrot on her back. She is just one of many erotic stone ladies that were created to adorn the Khajuraho temples. In fact, there are so many of them, the Indians are still not sure which temple was her home.

When the valuable antiquity turned up in Canada in 2011 in the possession of someone who did not have proper documentation, it was seized under the Cultural Property Export and Import which controls antiquities and other cultural objects being imported from foreign states. It was then turned over to the department of Canadian Heritage in Edmonton.

The Canadians contacted the High Commission of India in Ottawa to ask whether anyone was looking for a statue.

The answer, when it came back a couple years later, was no – the Indians were not aware that one of their relics had gone missing and no theft been reported. Nor did they have the paperwork to prove ownership, which complicated her return.

But her lineage was obvious. Earlier this year, experts from the Archaeological Survey of India travelled to Canada to inspect her and authenticate her origin.

The survey's director (antiquity), D.N. Dimri, told The Indian Express newspaper in March that the statue is clearly Indian. "How the piece was stolen, from where and exactly when, and how it reached Canada, is a matter of investigation," he said. But it is "inconographically different and unusual."

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