Chola-era idol traced to Swiss gallery | Chennai Information

CHENNAI: A fantastic twelfth century Chola-era Somaskanda idol, smuggled out of Bharat no less than twenty years in the past, has been traced to a non-public gallery/collector in Switzerland. The patination at the bronze indicated it was once perhaps a part of a buried hoard taken out, nearest 1994, through idol smuggler Subhash Kapoor and bought to a non-public collector in Zurich in 2005.
The divulge was once revealed in NZZ, a Swiss day-to-day newspaper, on November 28. “The NZZ was able to view an invoice issued by Kapoor as well as a customs certificate for Zurich-based Panasia Gallery, which brokered the purchase. The buyer is a prominent Zurich resident,” it reported. The gallery, run through Frank Russek, trade in first class items from Bharat, Nepal and Afghanistan, it added.
“We have been trying to solve this case for over a decade now. We first saw ‘The Art of the Past’ Subhash Kapoor advertisement for the Somaskanda in the Arts of Asia magazine. It was not in the HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) seizures in New York nor in any museum purchase or art auction,” Bharat Pleasure Undertaking co-founder S Vijay Kumar instructed TOI.
“It was like the bronze vanished for almost 20 years. We worked with NZZ reporter Ulrich von Schwerin in Switzerland, who, based on our inputs, managed to track down the collector and his advisory gallery (Panasia Zurich) as part of a larger story on how Subhash Kapoor had laundered many unprovenanced art objects into Switzerland,” stated Kumar.
The gallery consultant (Russek) and the collector in Zurich feigned lack of information of bronzes turning up as buried hoards and being smuggled out of Bharat. “We have several cases specifically on Subhash Kapoor in the Manhattan courts detailing the same modus operandi,” he stated.
Performing on information from “an informant”, officers of an investigating company (in Tamil Nadu) plan to advance via diplomatic channels, resources stated. As of now, they have got knowledge that the sculpture was once a part of Kapoor’s assortment.
“We hope the Tamil Nadu idol wing-CID will work with the ministry of external affairs to restitute this bronze based on our research,” stated Vijay Kumar. “Even though Switzerland is not a signatory to the 1970 UN statute, they have recently viewed such clear cases of illicit antiquities favourably. Once the present owner has been presented the facts of the case, he will do the right thing and return the Somaskanda to India.”

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