Paris auction house stops auction of Nataraja idol

Christies.com, France, has fixed Friday as the date for auction of the bronze Nataraja idol, belonging to 15th century, at a bid price of 200000 to 300000 Euros
Nataraja idol
Nataraja idol

CHENNAI: The Christies, Paris have decided to take the Nataraja idol from the auction list.

On Tuesday the TN idol wing had informed the auction house that the bronze idol, which they were planning to auction on Friday, was stolen from a TN temple 50 years ago. “Our voice has been heard. Christies.com has withdrawn the auction of Nataraja idol stolen from India. Indian Ambassador in France Mr Javed Ashraf has informed me.Thanks Mr Javed Ashraf..” said DGP Jayanth Murali, heading idol wing, in a tweet on Thursday. He also thanked ASI, Indian government, TN government, art enthusiast Vijay Kumar and his team forstopping the proposed auction.

This is the first time ever an Indian agency managed to stop an auction of an antique idol in foreign soil.

Christies.com, France, has fixed Friday as the date for auction of the bronze Nataraja idol, belonging to 15th century, at a bid price of 200000 to 300000 Euros.

Immediately after it came to the notice of the idol wing of TN police, the senior officials had opened all diplomatic channels to stop the proposed auction. The idol of Nataraja belonged to Sri Kothanda Rameshwara Temple, Kayathar, Kovilpatti, Thoothukudi, the officer added. It was stolen 50 years ago in the year 1972.

After coming to know the idol was listed for auction they checked with the images of the idols available with the Indo-French Institute, Puducherry. The images were found to be similar.

“The picture in the Christiesweb site and image received from IFP are ofthe same artifact, ” the official quoting experts said. The IFP image of the Shiva Nataraja idol was taken in the year 1958 and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department records reveal that the idol was stolen in 1972.

There was a complaint at the Kovilpatti police station about the theft of the idol. As the auction has been stopped, now we will take steps to get it back to TN. Within 3 months’ time, we will beable to get it, noted a senior Idol wing officer.

Recovered idols handed over to temple: Meanwhile, the 3 idols of Adikesava Perumal temple, Ulunuduret, which were recovered from a house in Chennai, were handed over to the temple administrationon Wednesday by idol wing officials. The idols of adikesava Perumal, Sridevi and Bhoodevi were stolen from the temple in the year 2011.

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