Why are our Gods stolen? – Part2
In the previous post, we eliminated that the idols are stolen not because of its Gold, So what else could it be?
These God theives don’t just steal the Panchaloga statues (ஐம்பொன் சிலை), they also steal the stone statues which are in the sanctum sanctorum (Karuvarai) (கருங்கல் சிலை in கருவறை) and also the ursavar statues (உற்சவ மூர்த்தி) which are made of Copper.
Could it be just art?
Well! Indian art has always pleased the eyes the World and so, the reason could just be because of the westerners influence in art. Think again!
1. Is the art in demand?
Walk into a Mahabalipuram road side shop, or a Cauvery Handicrafts Emporium in Urban Bangalore, or outside any temple or any online store, You would find hundreds of such Gods ranging from a dollar to hundreds of dollars with excellent craftsmanship. This fact still holds true. We Indians buy our Gods from these. Why wouldn’t the westerners want to buy from them??
2. Can’t we create copies of original?
The Operation Hidden Idol project from USA which helped India get back a few stolen idols worth $100,000 dollars specify a pattern. The art dealers of India made multiple copies of the same idol and package them along with the original so that the border controllers wouldn’t be able to identify between the old and the new and all of it could be exported. If art was the primary reason – why make multiple copies to even trick the trained eyes?
Antiques are priceless. The museums have specialists who collect and preserve these artifacts and hence the cost – With the latest revelations (in 2015) by Chasing Aphrodite which hunts for Looted Antiquities in the World’s Museums, several museums are beginning to return the looted art work after federal investigation. – The museums doesn’t seem to take pride in possessing stolen art works. But, the situation has still not improved and our Gods are still stolen.
4. Just an art? Look at the price tag!
May be these Gods are stolen for a table center piece.. Somebody would have been interested in it. May be, there’s no big picture in it at all? Let’s think again. This art dealership is worth billions of dollars. Even if it’s just for art, how much would you put on this simple Parvathi and Eswaran stone statue? Take a guess!
This above statue measuring 46.4 cm is sold at a whopping 40 Lakhs INR ($60,000 USD) at Christies. Whereas the Thiruvalluvar statue present in Kanyakumari measuring 133-feet (4060 cm) was built just using 60 Lakhs INR ($100,000 USD)!!
Why this huge gap with respect to the similar art form? Why is our temple art valued at such a high price??
The answer doesn’t seem to lie in pure art form either. What else could it be??