Idol wing traces smuggled idols from TN temple to US museum

According to police, K Narayanasamy of Sivapuram village near Kumbakonam sent a petition to DGP, Idol wing, K Jayanth Murali, stating that several antique idols of Sivagurunathan swamy temple in Sivapuram could be fake and suspected that the idols had probably been looted and replaced.
Idol wing traces smuggled idols from TN temple to US museum
Representative image

CHENNAI: Idol wing CID of Tamil Nadu police has traced a set of antique idols which were stolen from a temple in Kumbakonam 60 years ago, to a museum in the USA.

Police said that efforts will be taken to retrieve the idols through proper channels.

According to police, K Narayanasamy of Sivapuram village near Kumbakonam sent a petition to DGP, Idol wing, K Jayanth Murali, stating that several antique idols of Sivagurunathan swamy temple in Sivapuram could be fake and suspected that the idols had probably been looted and replaced.

Based on the petition, a preliminary enquiry was conducted and photographs of the stolen idols were obtained from IFP (French institute of Puducherry) and compared with the pictures of the idols in the temple.

“The comparison revealed that the photographs of the idols of Somaskandar and Thani Amman did not match. Therefore, suspicion arose that the smugglers who stole the antique idols could have replaced them with replicas by colluding with the temple staff, ” an official release stated.

One of the idols-Somaskandar is a bronze idol traced back to 10th century chola art and the idol has been traced to Norton simon museum, Pasadena, California.The Thani amman idol is presently at a museum in Denver.

After several hours of browsing multiple websites of various museums abroad, the Idol Wing stumbled on the Somaskandar and Thani Amman idols in the museums of the USA.

“The pictures of the idols that were available on the website of a foreign museum tallied with the idols stolen from here. The Idol Wing has registered an FIR and is taking steps for the restitution of these idols, ” an official release said.

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