From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Read the attached story
Mains level : NA
Ten antiquities (sculptures) retrieved from Australia and the United States were handed over to the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Some of the returned antiquities, and how they had gone missing:
- Retrieved in 2020 from Australia, this stone sculpture belongs to the Vijayanagar dynasty dating to the 15th-16th century.
- He is holding a gada in one hand and has another leg raised up to the level of his knee.
- The sculpture was burgled from Moondreeswaramudayar Temple, Tiruneveli in1994.
- Retrieved in 2021 from the US, this image of Nataraja, a depiction of Shiva, in his divine cosmic dance form, is in tribhanga posture, standing on the lotus pedestal.
- It is dateable to the 11th-12th century. Possibly, ananda tandava or the Dance of Bliss is portrayed here.
- The sculpture was burgled from the strong room of Punnainallur Arulmigu Mariyamman Temple, Thanjavur, in 2018.
- Retrieved in 2021 from the US, Kankalamurti is depicted as a fearsome aspect of Lord Shiva and Bhairava.
- The sculpture is four-armed, holding ayudhas such as damaru and trishula in the upper hands and a bowl and a trefoil shaped object, as a treat for the playful fawn, in the lower right hand.
- The idol is dateable to the 12th-13th century, and was stolen from Narasinganadhar Swamy Temple, Tirunelveli in 1985.
- Retrieved in 2021 from the US, this bronze image of Nandikeshvara is dateable to the 13th century.
- It is shown standing in tribhanga posture with folded arms, holding an axe and a fawn in the upper arms, with his forearms in namaskara mudra.
- This sculpture was stolen from Narasinganadhar Swamy Temple, Tirunelveli, in 1985.
(5) Four-armed Vishnu:
- Retrieved in 2021 from the US, dateable to the 11th century, and belonging to the later Chola period.
- The sculpture has Lord Vishnu standing on a padma pedestal holding attributes such as shankha and chakra in two hands; while the lower right hand is in abhaya mudra.
- It was stolen from Arulmigu Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Ariyalur, in 2008.
(6) Goddess Parvati:
- Retrieved in 2021 from the US, the image depicts a Chola-period sculpture dateable to the 11th century.
- She is shown holding a lotus in the left hand whereas the right is hanging down near her kati.
- This sculpture was also stolen from Arulmigu Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Ariyalur in 2008.
(7) Standing child Sambandar:
- Retrieved in 2022 from Australia. Sambandar, the popular 7th-century child saint, is one of the Muvar, the three principal saints of South India.
- The sculpture is dateable to the 11th century.
- The legend goes that after receiving a bowl of milk from Goddess Uma, the infant Sambandar devoted his life to composing hymns in praise of Lord Shiva.
- The sculpture displays the saint’s childlike quality, while also empowering him with the maturity and authority of a spiritual leader.
- It was stolen from Sayavaneeswarar Temple, Nagapattinam, between 1965 and 1975.