In our continuing pursuit to bring to light the extent of the rot - today we move away from Hindu dieties and metal - to stone and Buddha - not any Buddha but a Buddha from Nagapattinam 11th Century. This was a dynamic period in the Chola rule when the mighty Emperor Sri Raja Raja ruled much of South India. His extensive donations to the Soodamani Vihara in Nagapattinam is studied to this day and to spot one such piece in the September 2010 Catalogue of now arrested Subash Kapoor’s Art of Past is the subject of our post today.
What is interesting is there is this particular article in the Hindu with the image dated Nov 11th 2012, which seem to bear a remarkable likeness to the catalog sculpture.
The foot note makes it even more interesting: ” The Buddhist statue marked for theft by alleged Kapoor associate, Sanjivi Asokan, but not stolen owing to police action.”
and the report goes ” One Buddhist idol was said to have been marked for theft by Kapoor’s alleged head of operations in Tamil Nadu, the now-imprisoned Sanjivi Asokan. However, that idol was ultimately not stolen, quite likely due to timely action by authorities. “
The image in the publication is not very clear but there is a very important clue in the Buddha’s hand - his right thumb is broken.
A careful study of the catalog reveals the same breakage in it as well.
Now obviously something is amiss. The Catalog listing also boasts that the said sculpture was exhibited in the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore ” On the Nalanda Trial “ from 1st Nov 2007 to 23rd March 2008. It was a prestigious exhibition which was seen even by the Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh.
The Press release of the ACM for the event has this said sculpture with a detailed foot note as well
“…viewed stunning Buddhist art, including this 11th Century stone sculpture from South India, weighing over 700 kg.”
Now, what timely action are we talking off. The photo in the Hindu seems to be of the Buddha in situ in a site in India ( large temple wall abutting it??) -