Thursday, June 22, 2017

ASI to send Australia gallery details of 4 stolen TN idols

Jun 23 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
ASI to send Australia gallery details of 4 stolen TN idols

Around two months after acknowledging that it is in possession of four idols stolen from Tamil Nadu, National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra has written to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) seeking more details about the artefacts.The development could be a step forward for the idol wing of the Tamil Nadu police probing the theft and smuggling of a large number of antique idols from temples across the state in an attempt to retrieve these pieces, many of which are now in collections abroad. At least three of the four idols with the NGA date to the Chola period around 1,000 years ago, investigators believe.
Following the missive from the museum, the ASI has sought details regarding the stolen artefacts from idol wing officers.
“The state police have furnished us with information pertaining to the idols,“ a senior ASI official told TOI from New Delhi. “We will send the details to officials with the Indian high commis sion in Australia who will take up the matter with the NGA.“
The Canberra gallery had in April confirmed that four sculptures in its possession were among artefacts that the Tamil Nadu police had reported as stolen. The idols are an 11th century Kali and trident, a 900-year-old bronze statue of a dancing child-saint Sambandar, a granite Nandi bull from around the same period, and pair of door guardians [dvarapala] that date back to the 15th century .
Experts have linked the first three pieces to the Chola era and the door guardians to the Vijayanagar dynasty.
Two months ago, NGA said it had purchased the idols between 2005 and 2009 from notorious idol smuggler Subhash Kapoor's Art of the Past Gallery and Carlton Rochell Asian Art Gallery , both in New York.

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