Sunday, July 26, 2009

Record Prices for Stolen Property at Auction

USD $48,800 was the hammer price realized for this 11-3/4 inch, 18th century gilt bronze image of Vaishravana at last month's auction of Tibetan property, held by Bonhams in San Bruno, California. If you want a broken heart, click this link.

Anybody who wants to know what became of Tibet's treasures will find at least some of them in the world's auction houses, and nobody really cares that they are literally drenched in blood. Where will these orphans go? Will they be hoarded by selfish collectors? Will they die in museums? Will they ever go back upon a shrine? Long experience in such matters tells me that these things carry a certain "luck" with them -- woe be unto the unwary.

What will it take to end the worldwide trade in stolen Buddhist supports? Common sense should tell you, that as long as you have people in America (and elsewhere) willing to pop USD $48,800 for a single statue, and you have corrupt regimes in Buddhist lands, then you are going to have looted shrines. It happens not only in Tibet, but elsewhere, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Anybody have any bright ideas?

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