A large bronze Buddha statue from the Edo period, valued at $1.5 million, has been stolen from the Barakat Gallery in Los Angeles.
Security footage showed the four-feet-tall, 250-pound sculpture was stolen around 3:45 a.m. after the thief backed a rental van into the gallery’s driveway and broke through a gate.
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In addition to Los Angeles, Barakat has galleries in London, Hong Kong, and Seoul. Its storage yard in Los Angeles holds African wood carving, Japanese terra-cotta roof tiles, and other stone sculptures. However, the vandal specifically targeted the Buddha, a “prized piece” for gallery which is “believed to have been commissioned for the centerpiece of a temple”.
“I prize it so much,” gallery owner Fayez Barakat told KTLA, which first reported the news. “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.”
Barakat told KTLA he acquired the statue more than 55 years ago and that there is no other piece in the world quite like it. He said the theft was likely premeditated due to the sculpture’s prominent location and no other items being stolen.
Gallery director Paul Henderson told KTLA that this is the first incident of theft at the gallery in his 12 years of service.“ I don’t think there’s another like it on the market anywhere,” he said. “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 did not respond to a request for comment from ARTnews.
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