The Indian consulate in Milan on Friday said a "very special" 'Avalokiteshwara Padamapani' idol has been recovered over 20 years after it was smuggled out of India.
"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," it said.
The consulate further said, "The stone idol dates back to 8th-12th century. Avalokiteshwara is depicted standing, holding the stem of a blossoming lotus in his left hand." In Buddhism, Avalokiteshwara is the bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas.
Traced in Milan through tireless efforts from India Pride Project, Singapore, and Art Recovery International, London. 2/2@MEAIndia@PMOIndia@IndiainItaly@MinOfCultureGoI@iccr_hq@AmritMahotsav#AzadiKaAmritMahotsavpic.twitter.com/VPa5klqGpc— India in Milan (@CGIMilan) February 10, 2022
"It is learnt that the said sculpture had briefly surfaced in the 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," the consulate said in a statement.