I stumbled upon a most remarkable newsfeed yesterday, titled Nazi-Buddha carved from Meteor.
I usually don’t read anything Nazi-related, but this piece was from a magazine with a good reputation, Der Spiegel (comparable to TIME magazine, at least the Spiegel used to be comparable to a serious weekly newspaper, but I digress…).
Plus the picture accompanying the headline didn’t fit, so I became curios and clicked further to read on: The bearded figure depicts Vaishravana, one of the four Buddhistic Kings of Heaven and features a rotated swastica on the chest (symbol of luck in many eastern religions). It is one thousand years old and comes from the Tibetan region. A Nazi-founded expedition stole it from there, and brought it to Germany. I guess, because of the (albeit turned) swastica sign on it.
So far, so interesting. But it gets even better. Scientists analysed the stone figure further in 2012 and found that it is not made of stone (well it still is), but not a stone from earth but from Meteor Chinga that fell to earth a mere 15.000 years ago.
Other details about it, like who made it and what for, couldn’t be found. It was just affirmed, that there exist other things made of meteor material, like charms in Tibet and the dagger blade of Tutankhamun.
Now historian Isrun Engelhardt solved the puzzle, as far as possible. Her findings are amazing, too. Seems, the figure – which is indeed carved from meteor Chinga – was made in the 1930ties somewhere in Mongolia (if that is where Urga lies) by local metal workers, portraying Russian artist and traveller Nikolai Roerich as the “Future Buddha”, a mystic Messiah of the eastern religion. The figure didn’t come to Europe with the Nazi expedition at all, but was sold, bought and resold by various Russians, ending up in private hands somewhere in Vienna, of all places.
If I got your interest now, too, you can read the entire article in “Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines” here.
I think, the entire development is very intriguing and do hope, you do, too. Btw, here’s the picture (taken from The Spiegel article):