Idol Wing recovered in 2022 12th CE Parvati idol of TN from the US stolen 50 years ago!!

''The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution. The solution he and his fellow advocates propose emphasizes “acts of transparency,” starting with the restitution of ancestral cultural objects that were expropriated during colonial times. They point out that many of these objects were obtained through theft, violence, or duplicity, and assert that holding on to them would deprive formerly colonized people, including indigenous populations, of their living heritage, which forms a part of their identity''.

........................................Archeologist and curator Dan Hicks in his book ''The Brutish Museums''

The theft of Hindu antique idols, particularly made of metal alloy has assumed menacing proportion in the last two decades for reasons of its antique value, antiquity and unique workmanship. In the area of investigation and recovery of stolen idols from Tamil Nadu the Idol Wing Police of TN has made considerable  contribution despite certain technical and administrative hurdles. 

In July-August 2022 the recovery of 12th century idol of goddess Parvathi that went missing in 1971 from  Nadanapureshwarar temple   at Thandanthottam, now  Kumbakonam District, TN after a long span of 50 years is not an easy achievement. The Idol Wing that, in the recent past, got into the investigation finally traced the trail to  Bonhams Auction House in New York where it was to be sold at an auction. 

idol of goddess Parvati Kumbakonam, TN.

Above image:  Parvati idol in tribhanga pose was stolen in 1971 
from Nadanapureshwarar Sivan Temple at Thandanthottam, now  Kumbakonam District, TN, Finally in 2022 traced to an auction house in NYC, USA.    Portrayed in standing posture, the idol has a crown - a karanda mukuta of piled rings diminishing in size and culminating in a lotus bud. The patterns in the crown are repeated in the necklaces, armbands, girdle, and garment, embellishing the bronze texture. ...........

stolen bronze Idol of Parvati, TN

The burglary of five idols, including the Parvati idol, Thandanthottam Natarajar idol and Golu Amman  idol, at the temple was reported a day after on May 13, 1971 by the temple authorities, the nearby  Nachiyar Koil  police didn't register a case for unknown reasons, according to  the additional director general of police (ADGP) of idol wing CID, Jayanth Murali. 

When  DMK was the ruling party of the state, no action as taken on the missing idols by the HR & CE and consequently the case went cold for decades. Only on February 14, 2019 Idol Wing  CID Police registered a case  based on a complaint.  After a detailed search of various museums and auction houses world over the woman  inspector in charge of the assignment one Chitra finally zoomed in on  the Bonhams Auction House in New York. .The centuries old  52 cm  tall idol  made of copper and  and other metals with specific composition was very much at the auction house with price tag of whopping Rs 168 crore (US$ 212,575). 

temple theft, India.

During the reign of Pallava king Nandivarman, 8th century the temple from where the idol was stolen was a popular one and it was later patronized by the Chola dynasty.  Nadanapureeswarar Temple  dedicated to Lord Shiva  is  on the banks of the Arasalaru at Thandanthottam Village near  Kumbakonam.  Here Lord's consort is   Shivagama Sundari. The Temple is considered as Thevara Vaippu Sthalam and Tamil saint Appar sang Devaram devotional hymns in prise of God Shiva.      

The “Seppedugal” (copper inscriptions of the ancient times) belonging to the Pallava Era found in Thandanthottam  explain that this town  was an active one  during the Pallava and Chola eras.  Nandivarman II,  the Pallava king  ruled Kanchipuram in the 8th century and also had built  the Sri Vaikunda Perumal temple during his reign here.

Thanks to the untiring efforts of the Tamil Nadu Idol Wing Criminal Investigation Department (CID), an idol of Goddess Parvati, which went missing from the Nadanapureshwarar Sivan Temple at Thandanthottam, Kumbakonam, half a century ago, was traced to New York’s Bonhams Auction House. The idol Wing already got the papers ready through the central government in accordance with protocols to get the bronze  idol back to the temple from the US.