NEW DELHI: India has sent a formal request to the UK, asking the latter to return a 15th century bronze idol of a Tamil saint Tirumankai Alvar.
The statue stolen from a temple is currently housed at Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford.
The museum which had acquired the piece in 1967 from Sotheby's auction house alerted the Indian High Commission in December last year, after the museum learnt about the origins of the statue from an independent researcher in November last year.
"Research in the photo archives of the IFP-EFEO (Institut Francais de Pondichery and the Ecole francaise d''Extreme-Orient) appears to show the same bronze in the temple of Shri Soundarrajaperumal Kovil in Tamil Nadu in 1957," according to a statement from the Ashmolean Museum. "The Ashmolean was informed that the bronze is one of a number of bronzes in collections in Europe and the United States identified by this researcher through the IFP-EFEO archive," the statement added.
Rahul Nangare, First Secretary (Trade) at the Indian High Commission in London told PTI, "In our request, we have stated that the police report furnished by the idol wing unambiguously shows that the original idol as is found in the IFP archives has been stolen and replaced with a fake one and that the stolen idol is the same one that is presently with the Ashmolean.”
“We were open to holding further discussions around the possible repatriation of the sculpture," the museum said claim reports.
For a fact, last year, one of the most popular tourist and photo attractions of famous Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe, which was placed at the Ladies of Hollywood Gazebo, has been stolen.
The small statue of the popular and most-loved Hollywood actor was an imitation of her iconic pose from the 1955 hit film “The Seven Year Itch.”
In 2016, stolen ancient Jain, Hindu statues worth $450,000 were seized in US.