After five investigations spanning across a decade, 248 looted objects linked to dealer Subhash Kapoor were returned to India.
On Thursday, the Manhattan DA’s office announced the return of 248 antiquities to India. These stolen items had a collective worth of more than $15 million. Apart from 13 items, all of the rest were linked to disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor. These items were recovered from five separate investigations that collectively took more than a decade to come to fruition.
At one time, Subhash Kapoor was one of the most famed dealers not just in the United States, but across the world. Many of the works sold by him have landed in the most renowned art institutions, including Peabody Essex, the Met, and the National Gallery of Australia. However, the shady provenance of these items eventually attracted the eyes of various agencies. A number of investigations in his dealings revealed that Kapoor had sold more than 2000 stolen works across his career.
The investigations further revealed that Kapoor had a direct link with an international racquet that stole artworks from various South Asian countries. These include India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Pakistan. Currently incarcerated, Kapoor is facing multiple charges in various countries including India. In the US alone, he faced 86 charges including conspiracy to defraud.
The 248 items being returned to India included various idols, mostly stolen from temples. The most one is a bronze sculpture of the Hindu god Shiva. The sculpture shows Shiva in his Nataraja form, depicting him in a fierce dancing stance with flames surrounding him. The 12th-century sculpture, which is estimated to be worth $4 million, was stolen from a temple in India in the 1960s. It found its way to gallerist Doris Weiner, whose daughter recently plead guilty to charges of conspiracy.