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Posts Tagged ‘Ganesh’

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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The title of this post should raise a few eye brows - for the popular topic should be Sivapuram Nataraja - but no, it is no typo. What you are going to see today is the untold story of the “other” bronzes from the same temple. It is the dark side of what is considered to be a landmark judgement - of returning antiquities.

The case of the famed Sivapuram Nataraja is too easy to google - the jist is this….

judgement_clip_image002

1951: The Nataraja along with 5 other bronzes were found during renovation works carried out in the Sivapuram temple . and as per the Indian Treasure Trove act they were given to the temple ( ownership vested with the State).

“In 1951 Annamuthu Padayatchi of Sivapuram, Thanjavur unearthed 6 idols viz., Natarajar, Thirugnanasambandar, Somaskandar, Pillaiar and two Amman from his field.”

The Collector of Thanjavur, handed over the 6 idols to the temple authorities of Sri Sivagurunathasamy Temple of Sivapuram as per G.O.Ms.No. 2987/Revenue Department dated 29.10.1953.

1954-56: The Nataraja was sent for restoration to a local Stapathy ( afflicted by Bronze disease?). They were masterfully faked and originals stolen then.

The trustees of the temple wanted to repair the idols and this work was entrusted to Ramasamy Sthapathy of Kumbakonam in the year June 1954. In the year 1956 Thilakar of Kuttalam and his brother Doss induced Ramasamy Sthapathy to part with the original Natarajar and 5 other idols and to substitute the same with fake idols. Thilakar dispatched the original Natarajar idol to Lance Dane of Bombay, an Art Collector, arranged by Doss who kept the idol for 10 years

1963: an important clue and event - which we will see later.

1965: Mr Douglas Barret of the British Museum visits the temple. He denounces it as a fake and records it in his book. He also reveals that the original was with a dealer in Bombay.

Dr.Douglass Barret of British museum, in his book on ‘South Indian Bronze’ mentioned that the Natarajar idol in Sivapuram was a fake one and the original was with a private Art Collector. Tr.P.R.Srinivasan (curator of the Museum) alerted the Director of Museum and the Government of TamilNadu. An enquiry conducted on this resulted in registration of a case in Natchiarkoil
P.S.Cr.No.109/69 U/S 406 IPC. The Crime Branch C.I.D took up the investigation.

1967: The Nataraja idol came into the possession of Boman Behram, a Bombay collector of art, who sold it to Ben Heller, a New York art dealer.

Doss who kept the idol for 10 years and sold it to Bomman Beharan of Bombay who in turn sold it to Menu Narang. Benn Haller of New York bought it for 6 Lakhs rupees in 1969 and sold it to Norton Simon Foundation for USD .9 Lakhs

1973: Ben Heller sold the idol to the Norton Simon Foundation for a reported $ 900,000.5

1973: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York began planning an exhibition of the Norton Simon Foundation’s Indian art collection. Through the publicity surrounding the show, the Indian Government learned about the statue’s presence in the United States. This was the first time that the Indian Government had traced the object since its theft. Consequently, the Indian Government wrote a letter of protest to the MET and, with the help of the United States Department of State, blocked the show’s opening.
1973: The Nataraja idol was shipped to the British Museum for further restoration.

1973: The Indian Government filed suit in Los Angeles (the domicile of the Norton Simon Foundation) and New York (the domicile of Ben Heller) seeking restitution.Furthermore, it exercised political pressure on the Government of the United Kingdom, consequentially leading to Scotland Yard impounding the statue. The Norton Simon Foundation refused to return the Nataraja idol by asserting that India had no rights or title to it.

1975: India voluntarily interrupted the litigation for a set one-year period in a hope to facilitate an out-of-court settlement.

1976: The Norton Simon Foundation and the Government of India settled the case out-of-court by way of a mediated agreement.

The official Indian versions are the one’s in bold including below

A special party arrested Lance Dane, Thilakar, Doss, Ramasamy Sthapathy. Tr. S. Krishnaraj, the then D.I.G, CB-CID, TamilNadu visited United States and gathered evidence as to smuggling of the Idol. The Scotland Yard found that the Natarajar was sent to Mrs.Anna Plowden of London by Norton Simon Foundation for repairs as the idol developed corrosion and impounded it.

The Government of India filed a civil suit against the Norton Simon Foundation in England, New York and Los Angles claiming the Natarajar Idol. Thiru.K.K.Rajasekaran Nair, I.P.S, I.G.P (Crime), Madras sent a letter to the Government of TamilNadu to request the Ministry of External Affairs to get the Idol back. Dr.M.S.Nagaraja Rao, Director-General, Archaeological Survey of
India, NewDelhi got the Idol from the Indian Embassy, Washington and now the Idol is in the safe vault of Kabaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore, Chennai. All accused arrested and convicted.

There is no information about the remaining idols

This is where it gets interesting - what happened to the remaining 5 bronzes?

“In 1951 Annamuthu Padayatchi of Sivapuram, Thanjavur unearthed 6 idols viz., Natarajar, Thirugnanasambandar, Somaskandar, Pillaiar and two Amman from his field.”"

Remember the year 1963. This was the year when Sri. P. R. Srinivasan brought out his magnificent volume - Bronzes of South India - P.R. Srinivasan (F.E. 1963, L.R. 1994)

must_have_jpg

Fortunately he had taken photos of not only the Nataraja but also the Somaskandar. He also clearly notes the location as “under worship in the Sivapuram temple”

IMG-20120723-00512

Now things get interesting as there is this exhibit in flickr dated dec 20th 2008. pertaining to an exhibit in the Norton Simon Museum.

norton simon

The plate giving the provenance is “interesting”

display_provenance

Even to a lay man the comparison is obvious.

compare

The Museum’s site also features the same bronze but without the plate

d--images-F1972231S

Now a little more help from google reveals interesting additions to the same Museum’s collection in the year 1972 ans 1973

Saint Samabandar :

d--images-F19730103S

Parvathi

d--images-F197210S

Ganesha

d--images-F197228S

“In 1951 Annamuthu Padayatchi of Sivapuram, Thanjavur unearthed 6 idols viz., Natarajar, Thirugnanasambandar, Somaskandar, Pillaiar and two Amman from his field.”

The information of the case are from the website of the State = which ends as “All accused arrested and convicted. There is no information about the remaining idols “

What exactly were the terms of the out of Court settlement reached? That too with someone who quote:

Simon’s comments on the Nataraja published in The New York Times: “Hell, yes, it was smuggled,” he was quoted as saying. “I spent between $15 and $16 million in the last two years on Asian art, and most of it was smuggled.”

Did the Dancing Lord leave behind his consort, son and devotee behind !!!!

Note to audiences: Antiquities, Global auction houses and Museums are a tricky subject and it is easy to brand them - but it is important for all concerned to take in the sentiments involved. The objective of this post is not to slander but to bring to light the truth. As noticed above the sums involved are huge but these are our ancestral treasures - embodiments of God. The condition of the hundreds of bronzes in the State godowns in our own country cry for attention - the threat to them make their return to their abodes risky as well - it is time for the best brains to get together and think of a solution.

Ref:

https://plone.unige.ch/art-adr/cases-affaires/nataraja-idol-2013-india-and-norton-simon-foundation-1/case-note-2013-nataraja-idol-2013-india-and-norton-simon-foundation/view

http://www.forbes.com/2004/05/25/cx_0525conn.html|Forbes

http://www.tneow.gov.in/IDOL/judgement.html

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