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Oxford University to return stolen 500-year-old bronze statue of Hindu saint Tirumankai Alvar to India

Oxford University has decided to return a 500-year-old sculpture of Hindu saint Tirumankai Alvar to India. The bronze statue, nearly 60cm tall, was displayed at the Ashmolean Museum.
 

Oxford University to return stolen 500-year-old bronze statue of Hindu saint Tirumankai Alvar to India anr
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First Published Jun 13, 2024, 12:43 PM IST

Oxford University has decided to return a 500-year-old sculpture of a Hindu saint to India. The bronze statue, standing nearly 60cm tall and depicting Tirumankai Alvar, had been exhibited at the university's Ashmolean Museum. The Indian High Commission claimed the 16th-century sculpture, believed to be looted from a temple in south India.

A statement for the Ashmolean stated,  “On 11 March 2024 the council of the University of Oxford supported a claim from the Indian high commission for the return of a 16th-century bronze sculpture of saint Tirumankai Alvar from the Ashmolean Museum. This decision will now be submitted to the Charity Commission for approval.”

Thirumangai Alvar was the final among the 12 Alvar saints of South India, renowned for their deep devotion to Lord Vishnu within the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism.

In a different historical context, Queen Consort Camilla opted to wear Queen Mary's crown during King Charles's coronation last May, excluding the controversial Koh-i-Noor diamond.

The renowned gem, obtained by the East India Company in Punjab, northern India, after the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 1849, has since been a prominent component of the British crown jewels housed in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. India has consistently asserted its claim to the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which has been utilized in ceremonies like the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
 

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