Stolen Ancient Statues From India Recovered
Monday, March 14, 2016
NEW YORK, NEW YORK—Operation Hidden Idol, a partnership between the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations New York, has seized two statues from Christie’s auction house. Special agents determined that the two statues were stolen from India and transported to the U.S. by organized crime syndicates. The first is described as a tenth-century sandstone stele of Rishabhanata. It depicts the first Jain Tirthankara in a seated pose, flanked by a pair of standing attendants. The second carving has been dated to the eighth century and depicts the equestrian deity Revanta and his entourage. A piece of this statue is said to have been broken off and sold separately by the smugglers. “With high demand from all corners of the globe, collectors must be certain of provenance before purchasing. I urge dealers and auction houses to take every necessary precaution to avoid facilitating the sale of cultural heritage stolen from other civilizations. If a provenance is in doubt, report it to law enforcement authorities,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said in a press release. To read about preservation efforts in India, go to "Living Heritage at Risk."
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