Chennai customs stop international smuggling of 400-year-old Ganapati idol

This form of Ganapati is mainly found carved in stone and in paintings, but the metallic form of the Nritya Ganapati, especially of this size, is considered rare, customs said.

Customs officials at Chennai Airport seized a 400-year-old artifact on Wednesday, November 3. The artifact, a large brass idol of Nritya Ganapati, was seized from a house in Kanchipuram. In an official statement, Chennai Air Cargo Customs said an attempt was underway to smuggle it out of the country from Kancheepuram.

During the investigation, it was found that the exporter from Chennai sent the idol to his supplier in Kanchipuram, to be processed according to a customer’s requirements and then facilitate international smuggling. . According to a customs official, the idol was seized from the supplier’s house in Kancheepuram. The supplier worked for the party that exported the idol. The official added that Customs established the profile of the supplier based on a previous complaint. He also said they searched the supplier’s house after receiving “very good information” and the idol was seized from a locked room in his residence.

Further investigation into the matter is underway. The idol has been registered by the government and will be turned over to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) once the survey is complete.

The idol, which weighs 130 kg and stands 5.25 feet tall, is not registered with the Archaeological Survey of India under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act. According to customs, experts from the Archaeological Survey of India who examined the idol said it was over 400 years old and can be dated to the Vijayanagara-Nayak period based on iconographic details. The idol has been registered by the government.

The customs declaration said wear marks were found on the idol, but the idol was still showing small details. This form of Ganapati is mainly found carved in stone and in paintings, but the metallic form of the Nritya Ganapati, especially of this size, is considered rare. It is believed that the Nritya Ganapathi is revered by those who wish to master dance and fine arts. This idol is also the biggest seizure by Chennai customs so far, he said.

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