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ASI team to unravel bust mystery

THE MYSTERY shrouding the stone bust of a female excavated from the Divisional Commissioner?s office premises is likely to be solved soon.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 13:23 IST

THE MYSTERY shrouding the stone bust of a female excavated from the Divisional Commissioner’s office premises is likely to be solved soon.

A team of archaeologists headed by Deputy Director, State Archaeology Department, V P Nagaich, will arrive in Indore tomorrow to ascertain the bust’s antiquity and identity. The team will also carry out restoration work, including chemical cleansing, if necessary, in addition to dating the sculpture.

The stone bust was unearthed from an old well at the Divisional Commissioner’s office in Moti Bungalow on the eve of Holi. A total lack of ornamentation and the pallu draped over the woman’s head led to speculation that the sculpture depicted Ahilyabai Holkar — a deeply religious queen venerated as a goddess incarnate locally. Divisional Commissioner Ashok Das had requested Archaeology Commissioner Pankaj Rag to send in experts to verify if this was, indeed, the case.

Now, the Commissioner has deputed Deputy Director Nagaich to identify the sculpture and carry out the necessary cleansing to restore the bust to its original form. “The bust will be shifted to the district museum where we will carry out tests to date the sculpture and, if possible, identify it”, informed Nagaich who is scheduled to arrive here on Friday when contacted over the phone.

Asked about the restorative process, Archaeological Department Chemist Pravin Shrivastava refused to comment until he’d seen the statue. “The restoration methodology will depend on whether sculptural damage has been caused by air, water or mineral corrosion or by a combination of all three”, informed Shrivastava.

First Published: Mar 24, 2006 13:23 IST