Agents of the US Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement have seized more than 2,600 artefacts connected to the dealer Subhash Kapoor and his gallery Art of the Past from storages throughout New York, but the whereabouts of many valuable antiquities remains unknown. According to a criminal complaint, Kapoor's family members have conspired to conceal the still-missing works, while others were consigned to dealers or sold to collectors abroad. Some of the lost pieces include objects suspected to have been stolen from temples in India or improperly exported from their home countries, with false provenances created to sell them on.
A bronze statue of Uma Parvati, from South India, Tamil Nadu Chola Period, 11th century, 32 3/8in high. Valued at $3,500,000. In the first photo, recovered by authorities from a CD at Kapoor's gallery Art of the Past, the statute's surface "is encrusted in dirt and corroded", a sign that it was looted, according to the complaint. The second photo shows the work post restoration.
The French Pondicherry Institute's archive includes a photograph taken of the Uma Parvati statue in the Siva Temple in Suttamalli Village, Tamil Nadu, India. According to a police report filed with the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police, five metal idols were amongst 18 total idols stolen from the Siva Temple. The thieves said they stole the works at the direction of another dealer, who sent them to Kapoor. Authorities say that Kapoor's family members have concealed the works following previous seizures.
A copper alloy statue of Shivagami Amman, South India, Tamil Nadu, India, Late Chola Period, 13th century, 26in high, pre- and post-restoration. Valued at $1,750,000.
The French Pondicherry Institute's archive includes a photograph taken of the Shivagami Amman statue in the Siva Temple in Suttamalli Village, Tamil Nadu, India. According to a police report filed with the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police, five metal idols were amongst 18 total idols stolen from the Siva Temple. Authorities say that Kapoor's family members have concealed the works following previous seizures.
A bronze Standing Jina, from Tamil Nadu, India, Chola period, 12th Century, 29 1 /4 in high. Valued at $750,000.00. The first photo shows the Standing Jina outdoors, "its surface is corroded and covered in loose dirt as if it had only just been dug out of the ground", the government's complaint reads. The second photo shows that work post-restoration. It was sold to an unnamed private collector in 2005 for "an undervalued purchase price to avoid taxes", according to authorities.
According to the complaint, false provenance records were created to hide the Standing Jina's illegal past, after a curator at the Royal Academy of London selected the piece for exhibition. "As a general business practice, Kapoor created fraudulent purchase invoices, including this invoice, using an old typewriter and old letterhead from various companies," authorities say.
A bronze statue of a Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the Dance, dated to the 12th century, Chola Period, approximately 35 1/4in high. Valued at $5,000,000. The work is believed to have been exported from India in violation of the country's export laws.
A pair of sandstone Celestial Apsaras, from Central India, Madhya Pradesh, Medieval Period, 11th century, 27 x 8 1/2 in. Valued at $95,000 each.
In 2006, nine antiquities stolen were stolen from the Vishnu Varaha Temple in Kari Talai, Madhya Pradesh, India, including a pair of asparas. Prior to their theft, the Archaeological Survey of Indian photographed the works, which were originally attached, and assigned them inventory numbers. The website Plundered Past published the photo and discussed the thefts in a post in 2013. DHS-HSI and DANY photographed the Pair of Apsaras at Sofia Storage, unit
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