Hatkoti Ganesha Theft

A stone sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesha was stolen and possibly smuggled out of the country from the Devi temple at Hatkoti 100 kilometres to the east of Shimla on 12/13 February 2006. The theft was registered with the police on 13 February 2006 at the police station Jubbal under FIR No. 11/06.

The sculpture was built into a niche on the left side of the (restored) stairs leading up to the main shrine.

Hatkoti is a celebrated religious centre in the Pabbar river valley, a tributary of the Tons. This area was under the control of the Imperial Pratiharas in the past. Ganesha datable to the tenth century, was published by Hari Chauhan of the Language and Culture Department of Himachal Pradesh in an article entitled "Hatkoti: Religious Sanctity and Cultural Heritage", Marg, Volume 53, March 2002, Issue No.3, Fig. 3. The photograph illustrated here is courtesy of the author of the article. Chauhan describes the sculpture as wearing "a small crown, necklace, bracelet,  sarpayajnovita (sacred thread in the form of a serpent), and a loincloth. He is shown as usual, pot-bellied and has a single tusk with trunk turned to his left. The deity has eight arms. He holds a snake above his head. The right upper hand in tarjani mudra carries an aksasutra (rosary); the right lower hand holds a mushroom-like object, most likely a parasol, while the lowermost right hand holds an axe. The left upper hand holds a radish, the lower left hand holds a modak (sweet), while the lowermost hand is broken. At the foot of the image are two attendants on either side while on the upper portion two female figures, most probably Ganesha's consorts Riddhi and Siddhi, are depicted."

This Ganesha, stolen in 2006 may have already appeared in the market. It is being put on the web to alert anyone who may have collected it even in ignorance, that it is a stolen piece. He must give up possession at once by reporting it to the Indian diplomatic mission in his country or INTERPOL.

Thank you.

K. Mankodi

 

Posted on 3 February 2014.

KARI TALAI 4th Alert

On 8 February, 1 March and 3 April 2013, E-mails were sent out about six sculptures stolen from the centrally protected site of Kari Talai in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh.
 
These six sculptures are among nine that were stolen from the Vishnu Varaha temple on 16/17 August 2006. Out of these nine, INTERPOL issued an alert about the torso of a Vishnu, resulting in its interception by the US Homeland Security Investigations; the others remain untraced and may have reached antique dealers.

In this present E-mail, two more sculptures are being reported of two young women or apsaras (Nos. KTI 246 and 264 in ASI's records). Representations of such young women are universal motifs in Indian art since ancient period.

Kari Talai was an important centre under the Haihayas or Kalachuris of Tripuri or the Jabalpur area, where places of worship of Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism and Buddhism were built. The temple of Vishnu's Boarincarnation here is a large complex of the eleventh century, under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Photographs attached to this mail are supplied by the ASI's Bhopal Circle.

First information Report of all these thefts was lodged at the Vijayraghavgarh police station, No. 157/06 of 17 August 2006.

From E-mails sent out earlier regarding Bilhari in the same area it is clear that vandals are striking in this region frequently.

Kari Talai is a centrally protected site. ASI has records of all these sculptures. One who perpetrated or sponsored this crime should know that he cannot fabricate a false provenance for the pieces whose pictures are now going into wide circulation. 

If any museum, private collector or dealer has acquired these sculptures, they are exhorted to give up possession, inform INTERPOL, their local police, India's diplomatic missions or the ASI. If anyone, within India or outside, has received these pieces even in ignorance of the clandestine nature of their removal, he knows after this message is circulated that they are stolen antiquities, and they may have been smuggled out in violation of India's laws and international conventions.

The addresses where the ASI can be contacted are on their website www.asi.nic.in.

In the past, stolen and smuggled antiquities were traced with the support of conscientious individuals, or by international security agencies. If you co-operate, these remaining eight sculptures can also be traced, as was done in the case of the Vishnu torso, and be repatriated. One way in which you can support this effort is to save this mail, and others that you will receive, in a dedicated folder and forward them to your contacts. Some scholars are already doing this.

Kari Talai is a deserted site, beyond the boundary of the village. It is easy for small time vandals to pilfer the sculptures from there. The sculptures could then end up in collections through various middlemen. But it is someone's precious heritage. Scholars and collectors with conscience are urged to remember this when they see these and other such art in the catalogues or show rooms of antique dealers.

Thanking you, and hoping your support will continue,

 

K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.comklmankodi@yahoo.co.in

KARI TALAI 3rd Alert

On 8 February and 1 March 2013 E-mails were sent out about four sculptures stolen from the centrally protected site of Kari Talai in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh.
 
These four are among the nine sculptures that were stolen from the Vishnu Varaha temple on 16/17 August 2006. Out of these nine, INTERPOL issued an alert about the torso of a Vishnu, resulting in its interception by the US Homeland Security Investigations; the others remain untraced and may have appeared in the art market.

In this present E-mail, two more sculptures are being reported, a Shalabhanjika and a female figure. The Shalabhanjika (No. KTI 99) is a young woman standing under a tree; and the female figure (No. KTI 258) alluringly removes a thorn from her foot or paints the sole of the foot, supported by a dwarfish woman. Both are universal motifs in Indian art since ancient period.

Kari Talai was an important centre under the Haihayas or Kalachuris of Tripuri or the Jabalpur area, where places of worship of Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism and Buddhism were built. The temple of Vishnu's Boar incarnation here is a large complex of the eleventh century, under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India. 

Photographs attached to this mail are supplied by the ASI's Bhopal Circle.

First information Report was lodged at the Vijayraghavgarh police station, No. 157/06 of 17 August 2006.

From E-mails sent out earlier regarding Bilhari in the same area it is clear that vandals are striking in this region frequently.

Kari Talai is a centrally protected site. ASI has records of all these sculptures. One who perpetrated or sponsored this crime should know that he cannot fabricate a false provenance for the pieces whose pictures are now going into wide circulation. 

If any museum, private collector or dealer has acquired these sculptures, they are exhorted to give up possession, inform INTERPOL, their local police, India's diplomatic missions or the ASI. If anyone, within India or outside, has received these pieces even in ignorance of the clandestine nature of their removal, he knows now that they are stolen antiquities, and they may have been smuggled out in violation of the Indian laws and international conventions.

The addresses of the ASI are on their website www.asi.nic.in.

In the past, stolen and smuggled antiquities were traced with the support of conscientious individuals like you, or by the security agencies. If you co-operate, these remaining eight sculptures can also be traced, as was done in the case of the Vishnu torso, and be repatriated. One way in which you can support this effort is to save this mail, and others that you will receive, in a dedicated folder and forward them to your contacts. Some scholars are already doing this.

Thanking you, and hoping your support will continue,

K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.comklmankodi@yahoo.co.in

KARI TALAI 2nd Alert

On 8 February 2013 an E-mail message was sent to you about a Ganesha and a Divine Couple out of nine sculptures that were stolen from Kari Talai in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh on 16/17 August 2006. This second message is about two more sculptures that were stolen from the same site at the same time.

The temple of Vishnu's Boar incarnation at Kari Talai is a large complex of the eleventh century, under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.

The nine sculptures stolen from this remote site during the night of 16/17 August 2006 are a Vishnu Torso, Amorous Couples and Apsaras, and the Divine Couple and Ganesha circulated on 8 February last.

Out of these nine, INTERPOL had issued an alert about the Vishnu torso, resulting in its interception by the US Homeland Security Investigations; it is now awaiting repatriation.The other pieces are still untraced and may have appeared in the art market.

Photographs of two more of these still missing sculptures, an amorous couple and a female figure, are attached to this mail, as supplied by the ASI's Bhopal Circle.

Like Bilhari, Kari Talai was an important centre for religion and art under the Haihayas or Kalachuris of Tripuri (the Jabalpur area), where places of worship of all major religions Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism and Buddhism were built.

From alerts circulated earlier on 8 September and 29 November 2012 regarding Bilhari in the same area it is clear that vandals are striking here frequently.
  
First Information Report was lodged at the Vijayraghavgarh police station, No. 157/06 of 17 August 2006.

Kari Talai is a centrally protected site. ASI has records of all these, the amorous couple illustrated here being numbered KTI 81 and the female figure KTI 347. One who perpetrated or sponsored this crime should know that he cannot fabricate a false provenance for the pieces whose pictures are now going into circulation.

If any museum, private collector or dealer has acquired any of these four sculptures, they would do well to give up possession at once, inform either INTERPOL, their local police authorities, or the ASI in New Delhi or Bhopal. If anyone has received these pieces even in innocence, within India or elsewhere,  he knows now that they are stolen antiquities, and they may have been smuggled out of India, in violation of the Indian laws and international conventions.

The addresses where ASI can be contacted are on their website www.asi.nic.in.

In the past, smuggled antiquities were traced with the support of conscientious scholars and individuals like you, or by the security agencies. If you co-operate, these sculptures can also be traced and repatriated. One way in which you can support this effort is to save this message, and other messagess that you will receive, in a special folder and to forward them to as many contacts as possible. Some scholars are already doing this.

Thanking you, and hoping your support will continue,

 
K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com, klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

KARI TALAI 1st Alert

This message comes to you with photographs of two sculptures stolen from Kari Talai in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh.

The temple of Vishnu's Boar incarnation at Kari Talai is  a large complex of the eleventh century, under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Nine sculptures were stolen from this remote site during the night of 16/17 August 2006. They are a Vishnu Torso, a Divine Couple, Ganesha, Amorous Princely Couples and Apsaras.

Out of these nine, INTERPOL had issued an alert about the Vishnu torso, resulting in its interception by the US Homeland Security Investigations; it is now awaiting repatriation.The other pieces are still untraced and may have appeared in the art market.

Photographs of two of these still missing sculptures, a dancing Ganesha and a Divine Couple,are attached to this mail, as supplied by the ASI's Bhopal Circle. Ganesha has his usual attribute of a vessel filled with sweets and also a rosary in his hand. The god in the Divine Couple had many arms, an axe and a raised bow surviving in two of them. 

From alerts circulated earlier regarding Bilhari in the same area it is clear that vandals are striking here frequently.

Like Bilhari, Kari Talai was an important centre for religion and art under the Haihayas or Kalachuris of Tripuri (the Jabalpur area), where places of worship of all major religions Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism and Buddhism were built.

First Information Report (FIR) was lodged at the Vijayraghavgarh police station, at No. 157/06 of 17 August 2006.

The sculptures were stolen from a centrally protected site. ASI has records of all these sculptures, Ganesha shown here being No. KTI 100 and the Divine Couple No. KTI 320. Therefore, anyone who perpetrated this crime or sponsored it should know that he cannot fabricate a false provenance for such documented pieces whose pictures are now going into circulation.

If any museum, private collector or dealer has acquired Ganesha and the Divine Couple, they would do well to give up possession at once, inform either  INTERPOL, their local police authorities, or the ASI in New Delhi or Bhopal. If anyone has received these pieces even in innocence, within India or elsewhere, he knows now that they are stolen antiquities, possibly smuggled out of India, in violation of the Indian laws and international conventions.

The addresses where ASI can be contacted are on their website www.asi.nic.in.

In the past smuggled antiquities were traced with the support of conscientious scholars and individuals like you. If you co-operate, these sculptures can also be traced and repatriated. One way in which you can support this effort is to save this message, and other messagess that you will be receiving, in a special folder and to forward them to as many contacts as possible. Some scholars are already doing this.

Thank you.
K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com, klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Brahma from Devangan

Sub: Stolen/ Smuggled Sculpture from Devangan in Rajasthan, India

This message is about a sculpture of the Hindu god Brahma from Rajasthan, India.

The temples of the two neighbouring sites of Karodidhvaja and Devangan ("court of the gods") near Mount Abu were first brought on record by Dr. D. R. Bhandarkar in the Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of India, Western Circle, for the Year Ending 31st March 1907, at pp. 29-30.

One sculpture, of the Hindu god Brahma of the ninth century, was inspected by Shri R. C. Agrawala, Director of Archaeology and Museums in Rajasthan, in 1959, and was published by him in his paper: "Some Interesting Sculptures from Devangana, Rajasthan", in the Indian art journal Lalit Kala (Volume 8, October 1960, pp. 69-71, Pl. XXXI, Fig. 29).

This Brahma was smuggled out of the country some time later.

Eventually, the sculpture was offered by the antique dealer CHRISTIE'S at the London auction for December 11 1973, lot 122.

The same sculpture was then offered by the antique dealer SOTHEBY'S at the New York auction 1997, lot 30.

The identification of the Brahma offered by CHRISTIE'S and SOTHEBY'S with Devangan's stolen and smuggled Brahma is based on the writings of eminent Indologists, who also published its photographs.

First is the illustrated article by Shri R. C. Agrawala mentioned above.

Second, sculptures of Brahma are also the subject of a paper by Dr. Gouriswar Bhattacharya in Kaladarpana: Krishna Deva Volume, pp. 288-297. The Devangan Brahma is discussed at pp. 293-294 and illustrated in Pl. 33.5.

In this way, two reputed authorities have spoken about the same sculpture offered by the antique dealers CHRISTIE'S and SOTHEBY'S.

When Shri Agrawala published his paper, the Brahma was in the shrine. The sculpture was originally also flanked by other attendant figures, but as illustrated in SOTHEBY'S catalogue, the side figures are mutilated.This fact has been confirmed by Shri Agrawala in personal discussion.

E-mails/letters were sent to the antique dealers CHRISTIE'S and SOTHEBY'S asking for their comments about their acquisition, mutilation and sale of a stolen and smuggled Indian work of art. Even assuming that CHRISTIE'S and SOTHEBY'S were not originally aware that the Brahma was stolen, they now know the fact.

No reply has been received from either CHRISTIE'S or SOTHEBY'S.

Therefore, this mailer with photographs published in 1960 and 1997 is being circulated to individual scholars, museums and research institutions, even to antique dealers.

If you, the recipient of this mailer, have seen or handled the sculpture of Brahma at any time, then please report this at once. If anyone has the sculpture in his possession he should know that he does not have the right to keep it even if he paid for it. It is not his "property", it is someone else's heritage. He should reflect on this also that he has been duped by the antique dealers and made an unsuspecting accomplice. The sculpture must be surrendered to its rightful owners, the people of India represented by the official archaeological authorities.

If you are in a position to help in any way, you should report about the Brahma from Devangan to the Indian diplomatic mission in your country with a copy of this mailer, to help in its repatriation.

Thank you.

K. Mankodi
klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Brahma-Brahmani Theft

This message is about a stone sculpture of the Hindu god Brahma with his consort Brahmani  stolen from the open air museum at the Ranki Vav or the Queen's stepped well (underground reservoir) at Patan, Gujarat,  in 2001.

It will be seen in the attached photograph received from the Vadodara Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India that Brahma carries his usual attributes such as a sacrificial ladle and a manuscript. The panel measures about one metre in height, width 57-58 cm. and depth 45 cm (3' x 2' x 1.5'), and is datable to the twelfth century.

Another sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesha and his consort was also stolen on the same date from the same place, E-mail alert circulated on 29 February 2012. A photograph of that sculpture is also attached with this mail.

The Queen's stepped well is a monument of national importance as declared by the Archaeological Survey of India.

First Information Report (FIR) of the theft was lodged at the Patan City police station immediately after the theft, No. 230/2001 dated 10 November 2001. The sculpture has still not been recovered. Since the theft occurred ten years ago it may have already appeared in the art market.

This message is being circulated to alert the security agencies, scholars, conscientious collectors, museums, art dealers etc.

If you know about this sculpture, or if you or your institution purchased it even innocently, you know now that it is a stolen sculpture from a protected monument. The right action for anyone who has information is to contact INTERPOL or other security agencies, India's diplomatic missions, or ASI. The only course for one who has this sculpture is to surrender it forthwith. Under Indian laws antiques cannot be exported; this Brahma-Brahmani, which must weigh several hundred kilos, could only have been removed and smuggled out in a clandestine manner.

It is hoped that the conscience of honest collectors will be stirred. Dishonest dealers and auction houses everywhere are warned: they cannot get away with committing, sponsoring, supporting antique thefts, and that the Law will catch up with them sooner or later.

You are also requested to spread this message as widely as possible. In the past smuggled art was recovered as a result of efforts made by conscientious individuals like you, and Brahma-Brahmani and Ganesha can also be traced if everyone remains vigilant. 

Addresses of the ASI's headquarters and the concerned Circle office are:

Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, Janpath, New Delhi 110011
Tel. 91 11 2 301 35 74, 91 11 2 301 59 54
Fax 91 11 2 301 94 87
E-mail: directorgeneralasi@gmail.com.

Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Vadodara Circle, “Puratattva Bhavan”, 2nd floor, Near Central Library, Mandvi, Vadodara 390006
Tel. 91 265 2 42 93 87, 91 265 2 41 25 15
Fax 91 265 2 42 93 23 
E-mail: circlevad.asi@gmail.com.

Thank you for your attention.


K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com,
klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Buddha from Bilhari

This message comes with the photograph of the Buddha in Bhumisparshamudra, "Calling the Earth to Witness" that he had indeed attained Enlightenment. The sculpture comes from the Tapsi Math at Bilhari in the Katni district of Madhya Pradesh, which is a site of national importance under the protection of the Bhopal Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The red sandstone stele, whose photograph is supplied by the Bhopal Circle, measures 55 x 37 x 18 cm, as informed by ASI Bhopal. It shows the Buddha seated with his legs crossed, his right hand touching the earth under his seat and the left resting in his lap. A thunderbolt and a small female figure are under the seat. Other figures and celestials surround the central figure. On top is the reclining Buddha suggestive of his Parinirvana or Final Extinction.

The stele is datable to the late tenth century. Bilhari was an important centre for religion and art under the Haihayas or Kalachuris of Tripuri (the Jabalpur area), where places of worship of all major religions Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism and Buddhism were built.

Such scenes from the life of the Buddha were often represented in North and East India, but in this part of central India they are less often to be seen. (See Susan L. Huntington, The Art of Ancient India, New York 1993, p. 397, Fig. 18. 10, for a more elaborate tenth century Pala stele from Nalanda.)

The stele was stolen in the night of 21 January 2007. The theft has been reported to the Kuthla police station under FIR No. 0/07 of 21 January 2007. INTERPOL and other international security agencies have been alerted. There is information that the sculpture has been illegally exported from India.

The Buddha was stolen from its in situ position from a centrally protected site. Photographs exist with ASI where the sculpture is in its original place. Anyone who perpetrated this crime and exported the sculpture should know that he cannot fabricate false provenance for such a documented piece whose picture is now going into circulation. Potential purchasers are also cautioned.

If any museum, private collector or dealer has acquired this Buddha, they are advised to relinquish possession at once, inform either INTERPOL, or the ASI in New Delhi or Bhopal, or their local police authorities. If anyone has received this piece even in innocence, he knows now that it is an illegally exported antiquity protected under the Indian laws, which forbid such exports.

The addresses where ASI can be contacted are directorgeneral.asi@gmail.com andcirclebho.asi@gmail.com.

In the past smuggled antiquities could be traced with the support of conscientious scholars and individuals like you. If you co-operate, this Buddha can also be traced and repatriated. One way in which you can support this effort is by saving this and other such messages in a special folder and by forwarding them.

Thank you.

K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com, klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Ganesa Theft Alert

This message is about a stone sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesa from the Ranki Vav or the Queen's Stepwell (underground reservoir) at Patan, Gujarat, stolen in 2001. 

Patan was the capital of the Solanki dynasty during the medieval period. All Hindu and Jain monuments there were destroyed during the Sultanate period, but the large memorial stepped well of Queen Udayamati of the second half of the eleventh century, which had silted up when Muslim rule was established, survived. Its walls were decorated with hundreds of carvings. Ganesa, whose sculpture was among them, was recovered during desilting and conservation and was stored in an open air museum at the site.

It will be seen in the attached photograph that Ganesa carries his usual attributes, an axe, a broken tusk, a lotus and a vessel of sweets. Four side niches have other Ganesa figures, thus making a Ganesa pentad, and the remaining niches have goddesses. The trunk is turned to the right, a rare occurrence of added iconographic significance. The panel measures about one metre in height, width 57-58 cm. and depth 45 cm (3' x 2' x 1.5').with some damage at the top.

The sculpture was photographed at the site in 1990, and was published in K. Mankodi, The Queen's Stepwell at Patan, Bombay, Project for Indian Cultural Studies 1991, pp. 226-227, Fig. 205 at p. 227.

The Queen's stepped well is a monument of national importance as declared by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

First Information Report (FIR) of the theft was lodged at the Patan City police station immediately after the theft, No. 230/2001 dated 10 November 2001. The sculpture has still not been recovered. Since the theft occurred ten years ago Ganesa may have already appeared in the art market.

This message is being circulated to alert the security agencies, scholars, collectors, museums, conscientious art dealers etc.

If you know about this Ganesa, or if you or your institution purchased it even innocently, you know now that it is a stolen sculpture from a protected monument. The right action for anyone who has information is to contact INTERPOL or other security agencies, India's diplomatic missions, or ASI. The only course for one who has this sculpture is to surrender it forthwith. Under Indian laws antiques cannot be exported; this Ganesa, which must weigh several hundred kilos, could only have been removed and smuggled out in a clandestine manner.

It is hoped that the conscience of any honest collector will be stirred. Dishonest dealers and auction houses everywhere are warned: they cannot get away with committing, sponsoring, supporting antique thefts, that the Law will catch up with them.

You are also requested to relay this message as widely as possible. In the past smuggled art was recovered as a result of the efforts made by other concerned individuals like you. This unique Ganesa can also be traced if everyone remains vigilant. You should particularly examine the catalogues of auction houses. In the past CHRISTIE'S and SOTHEBY'S, who had auctioned a stolen Brahma from Devangan in Rajasthan, were asked to explain, but they never responded (E-mail alert dated 18th August 2011). You should therefore pay particular attention to their catalogues of the last ten years and their forthcoming catalogues.

Addresses of ASI's headquarters and the concerned Circle office are:

Director  General, Archaeological Survey of India, Janpath, New Delhi 110011
Tel. 011 2 301 35 74, 011 2 301 59 54
Fax 011 2 301 94 87
E-mail: directorgeneralasi@gmail.com.

Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Vadodara Circle, “Puratatva Bhavan”, 2nd floor, Near Central Library, Mandvi, Vadodara 390006
Tel. 0265 2 42 93 87
0265 2 41 25 15
Fax 0265 2 42 93 23 
E-mail: circlevad.asi@gmail.com.

Thank you for your attention.


K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com

Buddha from Bilhari, NO. 2

In September this year an E-mail alert was sent out regarding the theft of two Buddhist sculptures from Bilhari, district Katni, in Madhya Pradesh, in 2007. With that a photograph of one of the two sculptures stolen and its police particulars were given.

With this present E-mail a photograph of the other Buddha image in Bhumisparshamudra from the same place is attached, as supplied by the ASI's Bhopal Circle. The sandstone sculpture measures 97 x 66 x 27 cm and is datable to the late tenth century.  A thunderbolt is carved under the seat; two lions and four human worshippers are also under the seat.

Bilhari was an important centre for religion and art under the Haihayas or Kalachuris of Tripuri (the Jabalpur area), where all major religions Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism and Buddhism flourished. Tapsi Math, from where the thefts happened, is a monument of national importance protected by ASI.

Such scenes were often represented in North and East India, but in this part of central India they are less often to be seen.

The sculpture was in three pieces, which were joined together, as per information supplied by ASI Bhopal. Both steles were stolen in the night of 21 January 2007. The thefts were reported to the Kuthla police station under FIR No. 0/07 of 21 January 2007. INTERPOL and other international security agencies have been alerted. There is information that both the sculptures have been illegally exported from India.

The Buddha was stolen from a centrally protected site. Photographs exist with ASI. Anyone who perpetrated this crime and exported the sculpture should know that he cannot fabricate false provenance for a piece whose picture is now going into circulation. Potential purchasers are also cautioned.

If any museum, private collector or dealer has acquired this Buddha, they are advised to give up possession at once, inform either INTERPOL, the local police, or the ASI in New Delhi or Bhopal. If anyone has acquired this piece even in innocence, whether in India or abroad, he knows now that it is an illegally removed antiquity protected under Indian laws, which forbid removal/export of antiquities.

The addresses where ASI can be contacted are directorgeneral.asi@gmail.com and circlebho.asi@gmail.com

In the past smuggled antiquities were traced with the support of conscientious scholars and individuals. If you co-operate, this Buddha can also be traced and repatriated. One way in which you can support this effort is by saving this and other such messages in a special folder and by forwarding them.

For your reference, the earlier mail also follows this one.

Thank you.
K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com,
klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Iswal Theft

This message is about a pair of wooden doors from the Chaturbhuja temple at Iswal near Udaipur in Rajasthan. The temple is datable to the late tenth century and scholars have judged the wooden doors, which fronted the shrine, to be original to the temple itself.

Dr. Darielle Mason has discussed the doors in an article, "A Tenth-Century Wooden Door from Rajasthan", published in Ananda-vana of Indian Art: Dr. Anand Krishna Felicitation Volume, at pp. 140-146.

The doors were photographed in 1985 when they were still in their original place in the shrine. They are illustrated in the Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture (North India, Beginnings of Medieval Idiom, c. A.D. 900-1000, Plate 480), published by the American Institute of Indian Studies.

According to Dr. Mason the doors were stolen sometime between April 1988 and February 1989. They are untraced. Other sculptures were also pilfered from Iswal, and their police records exist. 

The photograph of the double door attached to this mail is reproduced by courtesy of the American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurgaon, India. As will be seen, each door is divided into three panels one above the other, with geometrical, floral, and figural carvings of musicians and female figures. The two musicians, which originally formed part of the lowest panels, are reported by Dr. Mason to have been in a private collection in the USA, and were gifted to the Philadelphia Museum; they are reproduced here from Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, p. 4.

The doors stolen  by vandals may have ended up in some collection and are untraced, only the two figurines detached from the door have survived.

If you are the recipient of this E-mail and you know about this stolen heritage, whether in India or elsewhere, you are requested to inform security agencies such as the police or Interpol in your country or India's diplomatic mission, or the sender of this message.

Please remember: in the past, alertness of scholars has helped in recovering stolen heritage.

 

K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com, klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Photos: (1) doors  (2) details.

Kaner-ki-Putali Theft No.1 - Sarasvati

Sub: Theft of a Sculpture from Rajasthan

A sculpture of the Hindu goddess of Learning, SARASVATI, was stolen from a temple near village Khadipur, district Bhilwara in Rajasthan, on the night of 26/27 August 2010.

The site is datable to the late eleventh century and is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India, jurisdiction of its Jaipur Circle.

Sarasvati, seated in a relaxed posture on a round stool, has four arms. She has a rosary combined with the attribute of blessing, and a pitcher in her two natural hands, and a lotus and a vina in the other hands. The niche that the figure occupies is approximately 70 x 50 x 33 cm as recorded by the ASI.

The temple was first reported in 1904-05 by D. R. Bhandarkar in the Annual Report of the Archaeological Survey of India, Western Circle, at p. 54. It is situated in a grove of oleander trees, and is locally known as Kaner ki Putli, "Oleander Blossom Dolls".  It has largely remained unknown, but some carvings on the walls are intriguing, and many indeed have the tenderness of these wild flowers. One of its unusual sculptures was described by Bhandarkar in his report, and was later discussed by Wibke Lobo, The Sun-Temple at Modhera (1982), pp.76-82, and K. Mankodi, “To What God Shall We Render Homage in the Temple at Modhera?”, Prajnadhara (Gouriswar Bhattacharya Volume), 2009, see esp. pp. 187-188.

First Information Report of the theft was lodged by the ASI with the police station at Bijoliya, district Bhilwara, No. 132 of 27 August 2010, and the theft is under investigation.
This mailer is to alert all scholars, museums, collectors, dealers etc. that the sculpture illustrated here is stolen property of the government of India. The sculpture may still be in the country or it may have been smuggled out, but its theft is recent, its record is with the police, its photographs exist in ASI records. Therefore, if anyone acquires this stolen heritage he will not be able to enjoy his possession and will always be obliged to conceal it from honest, clean people.

The photograph illustrated here is from the records of the ASI's Jaipur Circle.

The mailer is being sent to antique dealers to alert them as well.

If anyone comes to know about the SARASVATI he is requested to inform the ASI’s Jaipur Circle (phone 91 141 2 78 45 33, fax 91 141 2 78 45 32), or INTERPOL or other security agencies.

Thank you.

K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com, klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Kaner-ki-Putali Theft No.2 - Vishnu

Sub: Theft of  a Sculpture from Rajasthan.

An E-mail alert was circulated on 11 November 2010 about the theft of a sculpture from a temple known as KANER KI PUTLI at Khadipur in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan in August this year.


Soon after the theft in August, on 3/4 November, a VISHNU has been stolen from the same temple, photo attached. The god seated on a stool has four arms, the front pair of hands have the blessing gesture (combined with a rosary) and the conch shell, and the rear hands have the mace and the discus. Along with Vishnu, a small standing female figure has also been stolen at the same time. Vishnu’s niche measures approximately 70 x 55 x 33 cm.

First information report lodged at the Bijoliya police station is No. 173 of  November 2010. 

This alert is being sent to put the image of the stolen sculpture in the public domain, as was done earlier, to discourage unscrupulous people.

The photograph illustrated here is from the records of the ASI's Jaipur Circle.

If you see this sculpture anywhere, please inform the ASI’s Jaipur Circle (phone 91 141 2 78 45 33, fax 91 141 2 78 45 32), who are the custodians of the temple, or INTERPOL, or other security agencies.

Thank you.

K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com, klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Nagda Theft Alert

Sub: Stolen from Nagda, Rajasthan

The tenth century Sas-Bahu temples at Nagda in Rajasthan are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India as monuments of national importance.

There were eight celestial women on the ceiling of the Bahu temple in this complex, of which one was missing since some time. Between 1999 and 2004 six of them were stolen and possibly smuggled out.

This message comes to you with photographs of the ceiling when the sculptures were in situ.

ASI had duly lodged police reports after the thefts. These photographs are being sent to individual scholars and museums to alert them.

Since the thefts happened some years ago, the sculptures may have come out into the open, even published. If you see them, please report them to the police or the ASI (Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, Janpath, New Delhi 110011, India; telephone 91-11 2 301 3574, fax 91-11 2 301 9487) or to INTERPOL in your country.

In April of this year, when two Mithunas or amorous couples from Atru in Rajasthan were smuggled into the US, efforts made by the ASI, Indian and international agencies and individual scholars like you brought pressure on the antique dealers who were in illegal possession of the sculptures. The two amorous couples are now to be repatriated to India.


The attached photographs have been made available by courtesy of the American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurgaon.

The last photograph of the naked ceiling is a reminder.


K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com, klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Standing Shiva Theft

Sub: Theft of a Shiva Sculpture from Kaner ki Putli in Rajasthan

E-mail alerts with photographs were sent to scholars, museums and international antique dealers about two sculptures, of the Hindu goddess of learning Sarasvati, and Vishnu. These thefts had occurred on 26/27 August 2010 and 3/4 November 2010. These alerts were dated 11 November 2010 and 6 December 2010. As already mentioned, police first information reports were lodged by the Jaipur Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India. The sculptures are yet to be traced.

Before that date, another sculpture, of a standing Shiva had also been vandalized, in 2000, and of that also a first information report was lodged by the ASI, FIR No. 662 of 10 June 2000, Bijolia police station.

Information about Kaner ki Putli was sent to you earlier. The site was first reported by D. R. Bhandarkar in the Annual Report of the Archaeological Survey of India, Western Circle, 1904-05, p. 54. It is situated in an oleander grove, and is locally known as Kaner ki Putli, “Oleander Blossom Dolls”.  It has largely remained unknown, but some carvings on the walls are intriguing, and many indeed have the tenderness of these wild flowers. One of its unusual sculptures was described by Bhandarkar in his report, and was later discussed by Wibke Lobo, The Sun-Temple at Modhera (1982), pp.76-82, and K. Mankodi, “To What God Shall We Render Homage in the Temple at Modhera?”, Prajnadhara (Gouriswar Bhattacharya Volume), 2009, esp. pp. 187-188, and Pl. 18.14.

Photograph of Shiva supplied by the Jaipur Circle of ASI is attached. Also attached as reminders and for your ready reference are Sarasvati and Vishnu. Identical style of all three is unmistakable.

Local vandals after committing thefts may pass off sculptures to dealers in Delhi and other places, from where these antiquities may be smuggled abroad. It is likely that the thieves may offer the three figures, as a set, to buyers. If you learn about these, you are requested to report to the ASI in Jaipur (phone 91 141 2 78 45 33, fax 91 141 2 39 65 23), who are the custodians of the temple, or INTERPOL, or other security agencies.

 

K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com, klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Toos Theft

Sub : Sculptures Stolen from Toos in Rajasthan

This letter about thefts of Indian sculptures comes with four photographs of the ceiling of a tenth century temple at Toos Mandesar near Udaipur in Rajasthan. The temple is a protected monument of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums in Rajasthan.

There were originally eight sculptures on the brackets of the ceiling of the Mandapa or front hall, seven female figures (Nayikas) and one male. Three of the female figures were stolen a long time ago and have never been recovered.

Out of the remaining five, three female figures were dislodged by vandals on the night of 4/5 November 2009, who succeeded in carrying away one. One of the two sculptures abandoned by the thieves was broken below the knees due to the fall. These two figures are now in a museum in Udaipur.

Out of the two sculptures that then remained on the ceiling, one more female was stolen on the night of 13/14 August 2010.

After that theft, only one sculpture, the male figure, remained.  This last sculpture was also vandalized, on 6/7 September 2010.

First information reports of all three thefts were lodged at the Dabok police station, at Nos. 365 of 5 November 2009; 258 of 14 August 2010; and 281 of 7 September 2010.

The first photograph with this letter is the ceiling with five of the sculptures in place. The others are individual photographs of the three stolen figures.

All the five sculptures were photographed by the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF INDIAN STUDIES. A paper about the temple itself was published by Michael W. Meister (« The Sivaite Surya Shrine Near Tusa », Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, VIII, 1978, pp. 60-65), in which he illustrated the complete ceiling with the five sculptures, and also the male figure separately, whom he identified as Kamadeva.

All these three thefts are fresh cases, two of them only a few weeks old. This letter is being sent out to scholars and museums, and to security agencies such as INTERPOL. Alertness on the part of individuals and institutions can lead to the stolen sculptures.

This letter is also being sent to antique dealers : Toos is protected, documented and published. If any antique dealers acquire the sculptures or retain them after acquisition after this mail has been sent, they will not be able to claim innocence in conscience.

If you learn about the three stolen sculptures, you are requested to contact the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums in Rajasthan, Central Museum, Ram Nivas Gardens, JAIPUR 302 004, India, telephone 91-141 519 0400, fax 91-141 256 5124, or inform INTERPOL. Your action may help in thwarting the smugglers and in the sculptures’ restitution.

The accompanying photographs are from the archives of the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF INDIAN STUDIES, Gurgaon, whose courtesy is acknowledged.



K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com, klmankodi@yahoo.co.in

Buddha from Bilhari, NO. 2

In September this year an E-mail alert was sent out regarding the theft of two Buddhist sculptures from Bilhari, district Katni, in Madhya Pradesh, in 2007. With that a photograph of one of the two sculptures stolen and its police particulars were given.

With this present E-mail a photograph of the other Buddha image in Bhumisparshamudra from the same place is attached, as supplied by the ASI's Bhopal Circle. The sandstone sculpture measures 97 x 66 x 27 cm and is datable to the late tenth century.  A thunderbolt is carved under the seat; two lions and four human worshippers are also under the seat.

Bilhari was an important centre for religion and art under the Haihayas or Kalachuris of Tripuri (the Jabalpur area), where all major religions Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism and Buddhism flourished. Tapsi Math, from where the thefts happened, is a monument of national importance protected by ASI.

Such scenes were often represented in North and East India, but in this part of central India they are less often to be seen.

The sculpture was in three pieces, which were joined together, as per information supplied by ASI Bhopal. Both steles were stolen in the night of 21 January 2007. The thefts were reported to the Kuthla police station under FIR No. 0/07 of 21 January 2007. INTERPOL and other international security agencies have been alerted. There is information that both the sculptures have been illegally exported from India.

The Buddha was stolen from a centrally protected site. Photographs exist with ASI. Anyone who perpetrated this crime and exported the sculpture should know that he cannot fabricate false provenance for a piece whose picture is now going into circulation. Potential purchasers are also cautioned.

If any museum, private collector or dealer has acquired this Buddha, they are advised to give up possession at once, inform either INTERPOL, the local police, or the ASI in New Delhi or Bhopal. If anyone has acquired this piece even in innocence, whether in India or abroad, he knows now that it is an illegally removed antiquity protected under Indian laws, which forbid removal/export of antiquities.

The addresses where ASI can be contacted are directorgeneral.asi@gmail.com and circlebho.asi@gmail.com

In the past smuggled antiquities were traced with the support of conscientious scholars and individuals. If you co-operate, this Buddha can also be traced and repatriated. One way in which you can support this effort is by saving this and other such messages in a special folder and by forwarding them.

For your reference, the earlier mail also follows this one.

Thank you.
K. Mankodi
klmankodi@rediffmail.com,
klmankodi@yahoo.co.in