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October 23 2012

Meteorite Nazi Buddha Exposed as Likely Fake


The discovery sounded like a sensation: A statue of a Buddha, allegedly 1,000 years old and collected by the Nazis in Tibet, had been carved out of a piece of meteorite. Now, however, it looks as though only the latter detail is true. The work is likely a fake produced at some point during the 20th century.

It was a story that rapidly circled the globe at the end of September. A statue of Buddha, allegedly collected by the Nazis during a late 1930s expedition to Tibet, had been carved out of meteorite. Referred to as the "Iron Man," the 24 centimeter-tall figure with a swastika on its chest was thought to be 1,000 years old. The statue's previous owner, researchers wrote in their Sept. 27 report, had said that it was brought to Germany by the SS expedition led by ethnologist Ernst Schäfer.

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