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Recovery and restitution of Stolen Avalokiteshwara Padamapani idol.

Posted on: February 10, 2022 | Back | Print

Consulate General of India



Press Release

The Consulate General of India, Milan is happy to announce the recovery and restitution of a very special Avalokiteshwara Padamapani idol. The idol survived for almost 1200 years in the Devisthan Kundulpur temple till it was illicitly stolen and smuggled out of India in early 2000.

The stone idol dates back to 8th-12th century. Avalokiteshwara is depicted standing, holding the stem of a blossoming lotus in his left hand. He is richly adorned with a transparent dhoti maintained by finely crafted belt and is wearing necklaces, bracelets and a tiara. At his feet, two female characters are seated in rajalilasana pose. The one on right holds nilopta in her left hand and the other to his left wears a single element tiara and holds a mala in her right hand, her left hand is resting on her lap.

The village of Kurkihar is situated about 5 kms north-east of Wazirgunj, and 27 kms east from Gaya.  It was a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage Centre between the 9th and 12th century, and the site has yielded over 226 bronze works famously called as the Kurkihar Hoard.

In Buddhism, Avalokiteshwara is the bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He has 108 avatars, one notable avatar being Padmapani, the one who holds the lotus (padma).

It is learnt that the said sculpture had briefly surfaced in art market in France, before being located in Milan Italy. India Pride Project, Singapore and Art Recovery International, London swiftly assisted in identification and return of the stolen idol.

We would like to thank those who have helped us in the return of this priceless idol to India.

The idol received at the Consulate General of India in Milan will be sent to the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi.