Ancient Statue Is Seized From Manhattan Gallery
Federal agents seized an ancient Afghan statue from a Manhattan gallery Wednesday morning, part of a string of seizures that began Friday and have coincided with Asia Week festivities in New York. The object, identified by authorities as an eighth-century marble sculpture of the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati, seated on a tiger skin, was taken from a gallery on East 67th Street, where it was being displayed by Leonardo Vigorelli, owner of the Milan-based Dalton Somaré art gallery.
This is the fourth seizure to take place during Asia Week New York, a 10-day yearly event in which more than 40 galleries and several auction houses show and sell paintings, sculptures, bronzes, ceramics, jewellery, textiles, prints and photographs from throughout Asia. This seems to be the dealer concerned.
Speaking on behalf of Mr. Vigorelli, Lark Mason, chairman of Asia Week and owner of Lark Mason Associates, said the dealer had obtained the proper paperwork needed to import the object and questioned why officials had not previously contacted the dealer to discuss the provenance of the piece.
Very probably, then, we will see this "proper paperwork" ('import' to where? The US or italy?) when the dealer takes the case to court to get his property back. But will we? Investigators are reported to estimate the value of the seized piece at $450,000, Mr. Vigorelli "disagreed with the valuation of the item, saying he had hoped to sell it for $50,000". So, is it worth a European dealer going to court in the US for a 50k object?
Vignette: Spaghetti tree. Only buy spaghetti from dealers who can show proper documentation where it comes from.