|The Shiva (The Australian)|
INDIAN police have revealed that in 2002, an 1100-year-old Hindu sculpture of Shiva Ardharishvarana with his hands broken off was taken out of the temple building and placed beneath a peepol tree in a Tamil Nadu temple complex along with seven other damaged sculptures for repairs. The solid, 112cm-high stone carving from Vridhdhagiriswarar Temple was then stolen from the courtyard and eventually smuggled from India to New York. It was then sold by a New York Gallery owner in 2004 to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney Australia for $300,000 (Michaela Boland, 'Looted Shiva left outside for repair', The Australian August 16, 2014).
A temple donor had agreed to pay for the pieces to be repaired and a sculptor had been assigned the task, even though temple authorities had not received permission for the undertaking. The antiquities, including the handless Shiva with the bull Nandi, were photographed and then placed beneath a tree. From this spot the deity was stolen; the others were left behind. [...] Within two years of the theft, the Shiva with Nandi had been furnished with a bogus collecting history and sold by New York antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor [...] It was the last of six pieces the Art Gallery of NSW bought from Kapoor over 20 years.As is well-known, Kapoor was arrested three years ago and is still awaiting trial in Tamil Nadu. The Ardharishvarana (and a dancing Shiva bought from Kapoor by the National Gallery of Australia in 2008 for $5.6 million) were surrendered in April after India requested their return.
The gallery’s former director Edmund Capon said he had stopped doing business with Kapoor in 2004 or early 2005 after becoming aware of his unsavoury reputation.