Stolen 8th-century Indian goat-headed deity found in England; soon to be returned to India

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 05, 2021, 11:32 AM(IST)

Indian goat-headed deity found in England Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

An expert in the field of recovering stolen and missing art Christopher Marinello is to be thanked for the recovery

Several years ago, an important statue of a goddess was stolen from an Indian village Lokhari. The stolen statue of an 8th-century goat-headed deity has now been found as an answer to the prayer of millions of Indians. The deity was among yogini, female religious figures, which went missing between 1979 and 1982.

According to a report by the Guardian, the sculpture, which has been found in an English country garden, will be given to the High Commission of India in London.

An expert in the field of recovering stolen and missing art Christopher Marinello is to be thanked for the recovery. “This piece is considered a god, not just a sculpture," he said.

It has been reported that one of the world's largest auctioneers, Sotheby's offered the statue for sale in 1988. Also, in 1997, the statue was one among the looted antiquities which were featured in the former journalist Peter Watson’s book, titled "Sotheby’s: Inside Story."

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He secretly filmed Indian dealers who claimed that they had supplied a lot of objects which were sold at Sotheby’s in London.

The auctioneer received a lot of criticism from experts. Earlier as well, the auctioneer had faced serious allegations for encouraging the looting of ancient Indian religious sites.

Another expert, Vijay Kumar said, "It’s such a unique sculpture. It’s been a dream to find her. I was actually beginning to lose hope.”

Elaborating on the same, Kumar further said, "Sotheby’s, as I understand, pulled this from their auction, though that is still unclear. What was shocking was that they did not reveal the consignor or turn over the details to the Metropolitan police, even during the investigations in 1998, when Watson broke the story."

He said what shocked him the most is that it could remain in the UK for over 20 years after being listed as stolen.

(With inputs from agencies)

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