Following the fantastic piece of investigative journalism by the Chasing Aphrodite team, we continue to dig and present data that we feel will be raise pertinent questions.
We are back to Idol wing’s published photos of the missing bronzes from the two temples - Suthamalli and Sripuranthan.
Focus on the two Nataraja bronzes. One from Suthamalli
and one from Sripuranthan
It is clear by observing the Prabhavali or the circle of flames surrounding the bronze that the two are very different though the stylisation of the Dancing Lord is almost the same.
We have the Nataraja in the National Gallery which is said to “closely resemble” one of these - but which one? Lets study them.
Once again the circle of flames helps us know that this resemblance is to the Sripuranthan bronze and not to the Suthamalli Nataraja.
Now as published in the Chasing Aphrodite scoop, new photos have emerged of what appears to be the same bronze in the hand of the smugglers in an apartment in India sometime around 2006.
The accused Kapoor’s Art of the Past had published this photo in its Catalogue.
Now, as elaborated many times and also highlighted in the gallery’s defenses - there are hundreds of Nataraja bronzes in South Indian temples and they look very similar. However, to the trained eye it is very easy to spot the differences, credit again goes to the lost wax process wherein each is designed by hand, uniquely in wax before being cast in metal. So even with the hazy photos from the Idol wing / Archives - let us draw your eye to one particular aspect of the bronze. Count the flames in the ring and focus on the third one on his right - right under the uplifted foot
Do you see that part of the flame has broken off. Now let us compare all the images with us.
Ironically the Lord seems to point out this if you let your eyes follow his bent lower left hand !!!
Ascertaining this fact must not take a few seconds if only we had a better quality image from the Idol wing / IFP Pondy archives.
So one thing is for sure, we are talking of the Sripuranthan bronze and it has been removed from its base pedestal as well !! The larger question remains as to where is the Suthamalli Nataraja now?
During the course of our Independent investigation, we found another magnificent bronze Nataraja in the Art of Past catalogue of March 2011.
Once again comparing the Prabhavali - it is not the Suthamalli Nataraja. If so where is this from ? Are there more temples from where these precious treasures have been looted and we are oblivious to it. Who is to search for these answers?