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Looted art

Whereabouts unknown: see the antiquities US authorities are still trying to track down

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Agents of the US Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement have seized more than 2,600 artefacts connected to the dealer Subhash Kapoor and his gallery Art of the Past from storages throughout New York, but the whereabouts of many valuable antiquities remains unknown. According to a criminal complaint, Kapoor's family members have conspired to conceal the still-missing works, while others were consigned to dealers or sold to collectors abroad. Some of the lost pieces include objects suspected to have been stolen from temples in India or improperly exported from their home countries, with false provenances created to sell them on.

A bronze statue of a Standing Bronze Devi, South India, Tamil Nadu, Chola Period, 13th century, approximately 24in high. Valued at $375,000. In these photographs, the statue appears to be covered in dirt and encrustations and is missing both feet, "an indication that an antiquity was recently stolen from an archaeological site or temple", according to the government's complaint.

A bronze statue of a Standing Bronze Devi, South India, Tamil Nadu, Chola Period, 13th century, approximately 24in high. Valued at $375,000. In these photographs, the statue appears to be covered in dirt and encrustations and is missing both feet, "an indication that an antiquity was recently stolen from an archaeological site or temple", according to the government's complaint.

The statue was sent to London for restoration, which included the creation of a matching base and feet, "to disguise evidence of its recently having been stolen", authorities say. A customs form listed the work as valued at just $2,000 and dating to the 18th-century, a tactic often used "to avoid detection from law enforcement officials".

The statue was sent to London for restoration, which included the creation of a matching base and feet, "to disguise evidence of its recently having been stolen", authorities say. A customs form listed the work as valued at just $2,000 and dating to the 18th-century, a tactic often used "to avoid detection from law enforcement officials". The work is believed to have been hidden by Kapoor's family.

Uma-Parvati, from South India, Tamil Nadu Chola Period, 11th century Bronze Height: 32 3/8 inches (82 cm) Price: $3,500,000

A bronze statue of Uma Parvati, from South India, Tamil Nadu Chola Period, 11th century, 32 3/8in high. Valued at $3,500,000. In the first photo, recovered by authorities from a CD at Kapoor's gallery Art of the Past, the statute's surface "is encrusted in dirt and corroded", a sign that it was looted, according to the complaint. The second photo shows the work post restoration.

According to a police report filed with the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police, five metal idols were amongst 18 total idols stolen from the Siva Temple in the Suthamali (Suttamalli) Village of Tamil Nadu, India. The French Pondicherry Institute's archive includes a photograph taken of the Uma Parvati statue in the Siva Temple in Suttamalli Village, Tamil Nadu, India

The French Pondicherry Institute's archive includes a photograph taken of the Uma Parvati statue in the Siva Temple in Suttamalli Village, Tamil Nadu, India. According to a police report filed with the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police, five metal idols were amongst 18 total idols stolen from the Siva Temple. The thieves said they stole the works at the direction of another dealer, who sent them to Kapoor. Authorities say that Kapoor's family members have concealed the works following previous seizures.

Parvati, South India, Tamil Nadu, India, Late Chola Period, 13th century. Copper alloy Height: 26 inches (66 cm)

A copper alloy statue of Shivagami Amman, South India, Tamil Nadu, India, Late Chola Period, 13th century, 26in high, pre- and post-restoration. Valued at $1,750,000.

According to a police report filed with the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police, five metal idols were amongst 18 total idols stolen from the Siva Temple in the Suthamali (Suttamalli) Village of Tamil Nadu, India. The French Pondicherry Institute's archive includes a photograph taken of the Shivagami Amman statue in the Siva Temple in Suttamalli Village, Tamil Nadu, India

The French Pondicherry Institute's archive includes a photograph taken of the Shivagami Amman statue in the Siva Temple in Suttamalli Village, Tamil Nadu, India. According to a police report filed with the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police, five metal idols were amongst 18 total idols stolen from the Siva Temple. Authorities say that Kapoor's family members have concealed the works following previous seizures.

StandingJina, M4758 Tamil Nadu, Chola period, 12th Century Bronze Height: 29 1 /4 in. (7 6 cm.) Price: $750,000.00

A bronze Standing Jina, from Tamil Nadu, India, Chola period, 12th Century, 29 1 /4 in high. Valued at $750,000.00. The first photo shows the Standing Jina outdoors, "its surface is corroded and covered in loose dirt as if it had only just been dug out of the ground", the government's complaint reads. A 2004 email recovered from one of Kapoor's computers described the work's discovery when a local dug a pond to raise fresh water fishes, and its trail "through four or five hands", to an associate of Kapoor's who has been arrested for his connection to temple thefts. According to authorities, "any antiquity exported without the knowledge and authorization of the Republic of India would be exported illegally". The second photo shows the work post-restoration. It was sold to an unnamed private collector in 2005 for "an undervalued purchase price to avoid taxes", according to authorities.

According to Informant #1, following the sale, Royal Academy of London selected the piece for exhibition, and its curator requested provenance before exhibiting the piece. KAPOOR then created, or instructed his employees to create, three fictitious provenance records to hide the Standing Jina's illegal past: a false provenance letter from Co-Conspirator MEHGOUB, a fraudulent purchase invoice to support that statement, and a certification of that statement.

According to the complaint, false provenance records were created to hide the Standing Jina's illegal past, after a curator at the Royal Academy of London selected the piece for exhibition. "As a general business practice, Kapoor created fraudulent purchase invoices, including this invoice, using an old typewriter and old letterhead from various companies," authorities say.

A bronze statue of a Shiva Nataraja, dated to the 12th century, Chola Period, approximately 35 1/4in high. Valued at $5,000,000

A bronze statue of a Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the Dance, dated to the 12th century, Chola Period, approximately 35 1/4in high. Valued at $5,000,000. The work is believed to have been exported from India in violation of the country's export laws.

A pair of sandstone Celestial Apsaras, from Central India, Madhya Pradesh, Medieval Period, 11th century, 27 x 8 1/2 in. Valued at $95,000 each.

A pair of sandstone Celestial Apsaras, from Central India, Madhya Pradesh, Medieval Period, 11th century, 27 x 8 1/2 in. Valued at $95,000 each.

In 2006, nine antiquities stolen were stolen from the Vishnu Varaha Temple in Kari Talai, Madhya Pradesh, India, including a pair of asparas. Prior to their theft, the Archaeological Survey of Indian photographed the works, which were originally attached, and assigned them inventory numbers. The website Plundered Past published the photo and discussed the thefts in a post in 2013.

In 2006, nine antiquities stolen were stolen from the Vishnu Varaha Temple in Kari Talai, Madhya Pradesh, India, including a pair of asparas. Prior to their theft, the Archaeological Survey of Indian photographed the works, which were originally attached, and assigned them inventory numbers. The website Plundered Past published the photo and discussed the thefts in a post in 2013. DHS-HSI and DANY photographed the Pair of Apsaras at Sofia Storage, unit 733, in July 2012, but they had not yet been identified as stolen and were not seized.

A sandstone statue of a Celestial Lady with Shawl, from Northern India, Madhya Pradesh, 11th-12th century, 22.5 x 7 1/2 x 5 1/2in. Valued at $75,000.

A sandstone statue of a Celestial Lady with Shawl, from Northern India, Madhya Pradesh, 11th-12th century, 22.5 x 7 1/2 x 5 1/2in. Valued at $75,000.

The ASI photographed the Celestial Figure at the Vishnu Varaha Temple in Kari Talai prior to its theft. The work was consigned to another dealer in Singapore and shipped through Hong Kong.

In 2006, nine antiquities stolen were stolen from the Vishnu Varaha Temple in Kari Talai, Madhya Pradesh, India. The ASI photographed the Celestial Figure at the Vishnu Varaha Temple in Kari Talai prior to its theft. The work was consigned to another dealer in Singapore and shipped through Hong Kong.

A sandstone statue of an Apsara Plucking Thorn from Foot, from Central India, Madhya Pradesh, Medieval Period, 11th century,  18 1/2 in high. Valued at $225,000.

A sandstone statue of an Apsara Plucking Thorn from Foot, from Central India, Madhya Pradesh, Medieval Period, 11th century, 18 1/2 in high. Valued at $225,000.

In 2006, nine antiquities stolen were stolen from the Vishnu Varaha Temple in Kari Talai, Madhya Pradesh, India, including a statue of a celestial figure pulling a thorn from its foot. Prior to the theft, the ASI assigned the object an inventory number and photographed it. In the fall of 2011, Art of the Past shipped the work to London for an Asia Week exhibition, according to authorities. Kapoor was arrested en route to this exhibition.

In 2006, nine antiquities stolen were stolen from the Vishnu Varaha Temple in Kari Talai, Madhya Pradesh, India, including a statue of a celestial figure pulling a thorn from its foot. Prior to the theft, the ASI assigned the object an inventory number and photographed it. In the fall of 2011, Art of the Past shipped the work to London for an Asia Week exhibition, according to authorities. Kapoor was arrested en route to this exhibition.

Garuda Seizing a Nagini, M6105 Ancient India, Region of Gandhara Kushan Period, 2°<l-3rdc entury Grey schist with traces of original red gesso Height: 33 inches (83.82 cm) Price: $650,000.00 See Exhibit 14B.

A grey schist Garuda Seizing a Nagini with traces of original red gesso, from the region of Gandhara, Kushan Period, 2-3rd century, 33in high. Valued at $650,000.00. Authorities say the work was falsely declared as coming from India, while Gandhara was located in what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan