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Paris Auction House Cancels Auction Of Nataraj Idol After TN Flags Issue

The auction house in Paris, Christie's.com, halted the auctioning of the 500-year old idol of Lord Nataraj, stolen from Tamil Nadu's Kovilpatti in 1972

Paris auction house cancels auction of Nataraj idol after TN flags issue
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The auction house in Paris, Christie's.com, halted the auctioning of the 500-year-old idol of Lord Nataraj, stolen from Tamil Nadu's Kovilpatti in 1972 after the state police flagged the issue.

Christie's had issued a notice on its website, recently, on auctioning the Nataraj idol, which belonged to the ancient Sri Kothanda Rameshwar temple, Kayathar, Kovilpatti in Thoothukudi district, for 2 to 3 lakh Euros on Friday.

An alert DGP of Tamil Nadu Idol Wing K Jayanth Murali, noticing the auction bid, tweeted on December 13, tagging Antiquities Coalition, running an international campaign against cultural racketeering and the Archaeological Survey of India: "France. STOP AUCTION. Return it to us. This is a stolen idol from: India, Tamil Nadu, Siva Temple, Sri Kodandaramesvara. Have PROOF."

A senior official in the Idol Wing said the DGP followed up by sending the documentary proof through state and central governments. "Finally, Christie's.com realised that the idol proposed to be auctioned was stolen from Tamil Nadu, and withdrew its notice," he said.

"Our voice has been heard. Christie's.com has withdrawn the auction of the Nataraja idol stolen from India. Indian Ambassador in France Mr #JavedAshraf has informed me. Thanks, Mr Javed Ashraf, #ASI, #GOI, #TNGovt Vijay Kumar (art enthusiast) and my team for stopping auction first time ever," Murali said in a tweet.

This bronze idol belonged to the Vijayanagara period - 15-16th century - according to the Idol Wing CID.

Efforts are now on to bring the idol back to the state, the senior official said.

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