Le Lézard

$1.5 million Japanese Buddhist statue stolen

An Edo Period bronze of the Buddha, priced at $1.5 million, is stolen from the Barakat Gallery in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- On the night of 18th September 2023, an Edo Period bronze statue of the Buddha was taken from the Barakat Gallery in Los Angeles' La Cienega Design Quarter (www.barakatgallery.eu). The statue, priced at $1.5 million, was produced by Edo Period artist Tadazou Iinuma, and commissioned by a religious official, Ryozen. Dating from the Seventeenth Century, it depicts the Buddha as an athletic youth, seated in the Lotus Position, with a crown and halo. It was originally installed at the Yudonosan Temple. The monumental sculpture is a centrepiece of the Barakat Gallery's Los Angeles Buddhist collection.

A thief in a budget rental van broke through a secure rear gate at the Gallery, and manoeuvred the 4-foot, 250 pound statue using a dolly and ropes. The whole operation took less than 25 minutes. Fayez Barakat, president of the Barakat Gallery, responded "I prize it so much. I had it in the backyard of my home and when I moved into this gallery, I put it in the backyard of the gallery for everybody to admire and enjoy."

"We have 200 objects back there, but this is our prize piece," said Paul Henderson, the LA Gallery's director. "I don't think there's another like it on the market anywhere. It's four feet tall, it's hollow cast bronze, and it's a stunning piece. It's really aesthetically arresting and it's shocking to see something like this go missing." The Gallery believes that this piece was stolen to order, since the thief ignored other items stored in the same area. "I only hope that it was not stolen for the value of the bronze, as this is a historical piece. I'm heartbroken. Whoever stole it, maybe that person understood the value. Probably they commissioned somebody, a thief of some kind, to just go ahead and steal it," commented Barakat.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the piece is asked to contact the Gallery at [email protected], and the Los Angeles Police Department on 1 (877) 275-5273.

About the Barakat Gallery:

With galleries in Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong and Seoul, the Barakat Gallery is the world's largest purveyor of museum-quality ancient art. At more than 40,000 objects, the collection is one of the largest outside of established museums. Founded 150 years ago by the Barakat family in Palestine, the gallery opened its first international branch in Los Angeles in 1983. The Gallery was honoured by the City of Beverly Hills for its cultural contribution on its twentieth anniversary in the city, in 2003. In 2017, the Los Angeles branch moved to a new 7,000 square foot exhibition space. Current President, Fayez Barakat, is an internationally renowned collector of ancient art, and has been exhibited as an artist in his own right.  

More information about the Gallery can be found on its website, www.barakatgallery.eu

Photo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2220099/buddha_1603_ce_1867_ce.jpg

SOURCE Barakat Gallery

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