London, September 18 : A marble sculpture of Jesus Christ laden with diamonds, rubies and pearls, which is claimed to be worth 70 million pounds, is being offered to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, UK, by a mysterious reclusive artist.
According to a report in the Telegraph, created by Kongthin Pearlmich, the sculpture is made up of three panels each bearing a sculpture of Christ on the cross.
The work, entitled 'The Man Delusion', appears to be a riposte to the book 'The God Delusion' by the atheist academic Richard Dawkins.
Little is known about the artist, who is said to be a reclusive British artist of East Asian origin in his 60s, who only sells to a handful of private clients.
In this work, the central figure clutches a cluster of pearls in his hand, representing purity, while diamonds hang off his feet, representing man's obsession with material wealth; and rubies are pinned on his chest, representing the blood of Christ, according to a spokesman for the artist.
The spokesman said that Kongthin Pearlmich had created four of the triptychs.
"One has been offered to Canterbury Cathedral, another to the Vatican, while the fourth went to a private collector in America and was reputedly sold for 125 million dollars," he said.
According to the spokesman, Kongthin Pearlmich was a "very wealthy man", but the artist had decided to dispose of much of his estate through a living will.
"All his life he has been a recluse. He has avoided the art establishment like the plague," he added.
The artist never sold through auction or galleries, the spokesman said, but only directly to "20 or 30" private buyers.
Ioannis Goss-Taylor, curating the work, said that it was "beautifully hand-carved out of marble, painted and gilded".
"The work has been offered to Canterbury Cathedral and we are certainly considering it, but we don't know much about the artist," according to a spokesman for Canterbury Cathedral said.
Experts at Sotheby's and Christie's have said that they did not recognize the artist's name.