Photo/Illutration Alessandro Turchi’s painting “Madonna with Child” (Emi Iwata)

A painting from the 16th or 17th century that was lost after Nazi Germany looted it from Poland during World War II was found in Japan and returned to Poland.

A ceremony to hand over the painting was held at the Polish Embassy in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward on May 31.

Japan returned the painting for free.

In January last year, an official of Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage discovered the painting being auctioned in Tokyo.

An investigation by experts found that it was a painting by Alessandro Turchi, an Italian painter of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The investigation confirmed the Nazis stole it from a mansion in southern Poland in 1940.

The work is titled “Madonna with Child.”

It is believed Nazi Germany looted more than 500,000 artworks from other European countries during the war, according to the ministry.

Poland has been looking for the stolen works and seeking their return.

This is the first instance where artwork the Nazis plundered from Poland during the war has been found in Japan, the ministry said.

The ministry discovered the painting was sold at an auction in New York in the late 1990s, but it still doesn’t know how it came to Japan.

Paweł Milewski, the Polish ambassador in Japan, has described the return of the painting as the symbol of friendship between Japan and Poland that has lasted more than 100 years.

The painting will be exhibited in Warsaw, the ministry said.