Ancient Buddha statue worth Rs 12.5 crore stolen from Los Angeles art gallery

Ancient Buddha statue worth Rs 12.5 crore stolen from Los Angeles art gallery

A valuable Japanese bronze Buddha statue, estimated to be worth $1.5 million (approximately Rs 12.5 crore), was stolen from an art gallery located in Los Angeles, United States, in a heist that was captured on camera. The theft occurred on September 18 around 3:45 am at the Barakat Gallery in Beverly Grove, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The surveillance footage reveals the thief arriving at the gallery in a moving truck and forcibly opening a driveway gate to gain entry. Once inside, the thief used a dolly to transport the 113-kilogram sculpture to the waiting truck. The entire theft operation reportedly took about 25 minutes, as reported by Fayez Barakat, the gallery owner, in an interview with KTLA.

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The theft of the centuries-old bronze Buddha statue is indeed a significant loss, encompassing both its profound historical and substantial monetary value. This invaluable artifact not only holds cultural and artistic importance but also serves as a testament to centuries of craftsmanship and history.

In response to this theft, it’s expected that law enforcement agencies are actively engaged in investigations to identify and apprehend the perpetrator responsible for this audacious act. Recovering the stolen artwork is a top priority to restore its rightful place and preserve its cultural significance.

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Within the art community and among the general public, there is likely deep concern and a shared sense of loss over the fate of this priceless artifact. The theft serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges in protecting and preserving cultural and historical treasures. Efforts to recover and safeguard such invaluable pieces are a collective endeavor, reflecting the importance of cultural heritage and art preservation.

Fayez Barakat, the owner of the Barakat Gallery, expressed the deep significance of the stolen Buddha statue. He told the news channel, “I prize it so much.” He shared that he had previously kept the statue in the backyard of his home and later placed it in the gallery’s backyard so that it could be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone who visited.

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The Buddha statue is of immense historical value, dating back to the period between 1603 and 1867. Barakat noted that it is believed to have been commissioned as the centerpiece of a temple, underscoring its historical and cultural importance. The fact that this unique artifact had been in his possession for more than 55 years highlights its special place in his collection and the art world.

The theft of such a prized and historically significant artwork is undoubtedly a major loss for both Barakat personally and the broader art community. Efforts to recover the stolen statue and bring the thief to justice are likely ongoing.

Paul Henderson, the gallery’s director, reiterated the exceptional nature of the stolen Buddha sculpture. He emphasized that there likely isn’t another piece like it available anywhere on the market. The sculpture’s unique attributes, including its significant size at four feet tall and its exquisite craftsmanship in hollow cast bronze, make it a truly stunning work of art. Henderson described it as “aesthetically arresting” and expressed shock at its disappearance.

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Henderson further pointed out that the thief seemed to have specifically targeted this sculpture from among hundreds of valuable pieces in the gallery. He emphasized the difficulty the thief may face in attempting to sell or dispose of the stolen artwork. Given that it’s an ancient artifact with significant historical and cultural value, it cannot simply be sold on the open market or taken to a pawn shop for a quick sale.

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The circumstances surrounding the theft of this invaluable artifact have left many puzzled, as it appears to be a unique and irreplaceable piece of art. The question of what the thief intends to do with the stolen object remains a mystery, resembling a plot akin to a museum heist in which the fate of the stolen item raises intrigue and curiosity among art enthusiasts and investigators alike.

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