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Posts Tagged ‘Bronze’

The Art world is all excited about the outcome of the trail. But there are some interesting questions that keep coming up. We look at one such ” uncomfortable question” today.

We have seen earlier the details of Sripuranthan Nataraja and Sivagami.

It is pertinent here to point out that the actual theft happened at the Sripuranthan temple - the bronzes from Suthamalli temple were brought to Sripuranthan for safe keeping !!

idol_wing
nataraja and sivakamasundari

Thanks to the works of Chasing Aphrodite we now know that the robbers took pictures of the Nataraja immediately after the theft when it was in a ” safe” house in Tamil Nadu before it was shipped out.

shiva-natraja1
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We also have updated photos of the Nataraja currently on display at the NGA

171994
171994_Back

Even to a lay man the question will come up - how did the Nataraja change color. The greenish color is due to oxidation - and in bronzes it is called Patina. It is something that supposedly gives bronzes the antique look and is said to be a aesthetically pleasing and hence preferable condition. The Patina also prevents further corrosion of the bronze if properly formed aka done. Now naturally formed Patina takes years to happen and usually found in bronzes which have been buried underground and will never be seen in Temple bronzes which have been subjected to continuous worship with daily ablutions. Now, some ” experts” may argue that these temples were in ruined condition and might not have taken care of their bronzes.

This is where another crucial piece of evidence turns up. His consort.

compare1
artofpast2008_3
artofpast2008_1
artofpast2008_2

These photos are from Art of Past 2008 Catalog - the same year the NGA acquired the Nataraja. So its clear that the Nataraja would have been the same bronze color without patina.

So how did the Nataraja change color - attain Patina - yes, Patina can be artificially added thanks to today’s technology. There are chemical and physical means to impart which color you want and you practically order it when you want to commission a new bronze - green, black or Gold !!

The next question is - is there a difference in the chemical composition of a natural patina compared to one that is artificially applied. The answer is Yes and under a microscope its easy to spot the difference. In this case being a multi million dollar purchase must have been one of the first tests done by the gallery atleast to ensure they are buying a 1000 year old artifact and not a recently cast bronze.

Now the quality of this execution is important as a amateur working on such a ” priceless” piece might cause irreparable damage - in the past ( by that we mean in the case of the Pathur and the Sivapuram Nataraja ) the bronzes are sent to a country where there are expert conservators to do this job - UK !!

Now to read more into this, take a look at the case papers. Subhash Chandra Kapoor vs Inspector Of Police on 3 April, 2012


The said idols were presented before the Sea Customs Authority, Chennai so as to export it to xxxxxxxx Gallery and was cleared by customs on 6.3.2008 and were exported by ship to Hong Kong. They were further redirected to one xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Company at U.K. by direction from the petitioner. “

The same company is named in this newspaper report

Maybe the Nataraja changed color in UK??

The other question is why was the Patina applied only for the Nataraja and not to his consort? Was it customized?

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We had promised for some explosive revelations on this case. Here is the first of the next set. We go back to photos published by the Idol Wing.

idol_wing

The first of the green marked ones - the Ganesha.

idols_foreign(1)_page2_image14

Ever since this case has been in the open, we have been running through various Museum databases and acquisitions and cross checking with the images published by the Idol wing. This bronze currently in the Toledo Museum came up in our searches as it was acquired in 2006 ( for the acquisition number)

ganesa

On further checking we notices that the Museum has had a lot of interaction with the accused Subash Kapoor and he is listed in their annual report 2007 ( refer the end notes). We could not find the gallery’s 2006 Annual report and hence are not aware if the provenance information is declared in that document.

However a simple comparison reveals that we are looking at the same Sripuranthan Ganesha

Vinayagar Toledo

Lets take a closer look - there is a small blemish in the trunk ( wish we could receive better quality images of the same)

trunk
trunk now museum image

Thanks to a friendly associate who took the pains to drive up to the Museum and get us high resolution images we can check the bronze in toledo and match the same.

trunk now

The Hands, base pedestal, the loin cloth ornamentation all match up.

hands
hands now
waist
waist now

Now, it is upto the authorities to seek the return of this looted deity.

Foot Note:

Annual report 2007 of the Toledo Museum ( extract):

Burmese, Buddhist Votive Plaque, 12th–13th century, terra cotta,
Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.113
Burmese, Buddhist Votive Plaque, 12th–13th century, terra cotta,
Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.114
Indian, Gupta Period, Seated Mother, 5th century, terra cotta, terra
cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.107
Indian, Gupta Period, Standing Monkey, 6th century, terra cotta,
Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.108
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.109
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Kubera Rattle, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.110
Indian, Gupta Period, Durga Killing Buffalo Demon, 5th century,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.111
Indian, Mauryan, Bird with Wheels, 1st century B.C.–1st century A.D.,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.112
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Kubera Rattle, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.115
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Fertility Goddess Sitting with Star, 1st
century B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor,
2007.116
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Square Plaque with Horse, 1st century
B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.117
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Fertility Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.118
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Man Riding Animal, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.119
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Torso of a Woman, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.120
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Monkey Figure, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.121
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.122
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.123
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Plaque with Two Figures, 1st century
B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.124
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Plaque with Figures, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.125
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.126
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Rattle of Kubera, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.127
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Plaque of Yakshi, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.128
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.129
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.130
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Plaque of Standing Figure, 1st century
B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.131
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Plaque of a Horse, 1st century B.C.-1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.132
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Plaque of Two Figures, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.133
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.134
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.135
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Circular Plaque Fertility Goddess, 1st
century B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor,
2007.136
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Figure on Crocodile, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.137
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.138
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Fragment of Yakshi Head, 1st century
B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.139
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Standing Yakshi, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.140
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Fragment of Yakshi Plaque, 1st century
B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.141
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Fragment of Yakshi and Bird, 1st century
B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.142
Indian (Uttar Pradesh), Ram, 1st –2nd century A.D., terra cotta, Gift
of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.143
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Mithuna Plaque, 1st century B.C.–1st
century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.144
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Plaque of Water Buffalo and Tiger, 1st
century B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor,
2007.145
Indian (Chandraketugarh), Fertility Goddess Figure, 1st century
B.C.–1st century A.D., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.146
Indian (Uttar Pradesh), Gupta Period, Head, 5th century, terra cotta,
Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.147
Indian (Uttar Pradesh), Gupta Period, Head, 6th century, terra cotta,
Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.148
Indian (Uttar Pradesh), Gupta Period, Head, 7th century, terra cotta,
Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.149
Indian (Uttar Pradesh), Gupta Period, Head, 8th century, terra cotta,
Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.150
Indian (Western India), Female Head, Gupta period, 5th century,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.158
Indian, Gupta Period, Head, 4th century, terra cotta, Gift of Subhash
Kapoor, 2007.159

seems he was also into Pakistani

Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Bull with Two Humps, 5000–
2000 B.C., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.151
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Cow, 5000–2000 B.C., terra
cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.152
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Cow on Base, 5000–2000 B.C.,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.153
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Two Cows, 5000–2000 B.C.,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.154
Pakistani, Cross Plaque, 5th–7th century, terra cotta, Gift of Subhash
Kapoor, 2007.155
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Bowl, 4th–3rd century B.C.,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.156
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Female Doll, 5th–3rd century
B.C., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.160
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Female Doll, 6th–3rdcentury
B.C., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.161
Pakistani (Mohenjo-daro; Ancient India), Weight, 3000–1000 B.C.,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.162
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Bull with Two Humps, 5000–
2000 B.C., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.151
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Cow, 5000–2000 B.C., terra
cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.152
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Cow on Base, 5000–2000 B.C.,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.153
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Two Cows, 5000–2000 B.C.,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.154
Pakistani, Cross Plaque, 5th–7th century, terra cotta, Gift of Subhash
Kapoor, 2007.155
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Bowl, 4th–3rd century B.C.,
terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.156
Pakistani (Mehrgarh; Ancient India), Female Doll, 5th–3rd century
B.C., terra cotta, Gift of Subhash Kapoor, 2007.160

Iranian

Iranian, Pitcher, 9th–10th century, terra cotta, Gift of Subhash
Kapoor, 2007.157

The Museum recognizes and thanks the
following organizations, businesses, and
individuals who made gifts during 2008
in support of art acquisitions, capital
projects, and special programs.
$100,000+ - Subhash Kapoor: gift of art

CUMULATIVE GIVING
The Toledo Museum of Art salutes the
following donors for their generosity and
continuing support during its second
century:
Key:
I. Founding Benefactors
II. $10 million and higher
III. $5 million to $9.999 million
IV. $1 million to $4.999 million
V. $500,000 to $999,999
VI. $250,000 to $499,999 - Mr. Subhash Kapoor
VII. $100,000 to $249,999

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