The Nazi provenance, alone, should sound a few alarm bells.
Researchers who reported that a potentially ancient Buddha statue is carved from a meteorite said they are not surprised that an expert in Buddhist history believes the statue to be a fake.
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"The non-Asian features of the 'lama wearing trousers' should be immediately obvious to any scholar in the field," Bayer wrote, referring to the statue as a "lama" or guru. The shoes, pants and sleeves of the man's garments are all wrong for ancient Tibet, he wrote. The statue's hands, eyes and ears are also shaped unusually for Tibetan art, he said.
The statue was said to have come to Germany in the possession of a pre-World War II scientific expedition commissioned by the Nazi party. Bayer called that into question, too, saying there is no documentation of the statue's transfer and arguing that it is more likely a fake created in the 20th century for the antique or Nazi-memorabilia market.