17th century Mongolian bronze figure – Green Tara, which was created by His Holiness the First Bogdkhaan of Mongolia D.Zanabazar, was sold for 3.46 million euros ( USD 4.3 million) at an auction in Paris on December 11 despite the Mongolian Government’s efforts to block the sale.

Mongolia suspects it may have been removed to France illegally, Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences L.Gantomor wrote in a letter on December 10. The figure was expected to fetch up to 300,000 euros.

Mongolia hasn’t allowed the sale of Zanabazar artworks since the 1920s, and Sotheby’s should determine the item’s provenance “due to possible legal consequences,” Gantomor wrote to Sotheby’s France Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Cerutti.

The statue, which Sotheby’s describes as a “very rare and important gilt-bronze figure,” was set to go on sale at 10:30 am in Paris as part of the Arts d’Asie auction on Thursday. Sotheby’s France spokeswoman Alexandrine Hawawini declined to comment on Mongolia’s claim, and confirmed the sale amount.

According to a brochure, the statue was acquired from Jean-Claude Moreau-Gobard in Paris in 1954, Bloomberg reported Thursday.