Thursday, 1 August 2019

'Footprints of Buddha' returned to Pakistan

In late April 2016 the US returned an ancient Buddhist stone sculpture to Pakistan, from where it was stolen in the 1980s. The 2nd Century piece was taken from the Swat Valley and eventually smuggled into the US.

A Japanese antiquities dealer was arrested for smuggling the $1.1 million sculpture into the US.

Tatsuzo Kaku, whose company — Tokyo-based Taiyo Ltd. — deals in ancient artifacts, was busted March 14, 2016 after he agreed to ship the 440-pound relic to New York.

The rare Buddhapada sculpture was stolen in 1982 from an archaeological site in the Swat Region of Pakistan.
In e-mails, Kaku admitted that he had purchased the Buddhapada in Pakistan in 1982 after the artifact had been illegally excavated and stolen. Kaku admitted to investigators that he knew it was illegal to buy or possess such material.

The footprint of the Buddha is an imprint of Gautama Buddha's one or both feet. There are two forms: natural, as found in stone or rock, and those made artificially. The footprints of the Buddha (Buddhapada) are one of the early representations of the Buddha in the anticonic (no statues) stage of Buddhist art. The Buddhapada are highly revered in all Buddhist countries. They symbolize the grounding of the transcendent.

According to Buddhist legend, after the Buddha attained enlightenment, his feet made an imprint in the stone where he stepped.