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vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 17 17:26:50 UTC 2000
Swaminathan Madhuresan <smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
> Ms. Rumer has penned this novel based on the London newspaper reports.
>Some smugglers swindled away a famous Chola bronze Natarajar
>from the Thanjavur village, Paththuur. Dated to 9-10th cent. AD.
>Tamil Nadu Govt. sued on behalf of the presiding deity, Lord Shiva
Siva as a "juristic person" was added to the case quite late in the day, for
tactical reasons. In itself, this is a concept that developed in the 19th
century, when Dharmasastra codes were being reinterpreted through the lens
of Roman/English law. Initially, it was simply a case of trying to recover
stolen antiquities. So, rather than a case of the government suing on behalf
of Siva, it was as if Siva was brought in as a party to the case, on behalf
of the government.
>of Paththuur in the court of London. Dr. George Schwindler, an American
>art historian represented the buyers. But the court, in a landmark
>judgement, returned the precious Natarajar back to the village temple.
Wrong again. The court returned the Nataraja bronze to India, not
specifically to the temple. As of now, the Pathur Nataraja is stored in the
TN Govt's Icon Center in Tiruvarur. The temple at Pathur is in ruins, with
the central Sivalinga lying exposed, and not receiving any form of worship.
Richard Davis's "Lives of Indian Images" (Princeton, 1997) has a full
chapter on this case, which is essential reading for anyone interested in
the political, cultural and judicial issues involved.
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