NEWSGD.COM
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Site Map | Chinese
News | Biz | Pearl River Delta | Enjoy Life | Culture | Travelling | Pics | Cities & Towns | Gov Info | Specials
Home> NewsBrief>PicturesStories
Auction of looted sculptures hurts national sentiment
Latest Updated at 2009-February-25 08:57:47

China Tuesday criticized the sale of two looted bronze sculptures at Christie's, saying it broke international conventions and seriously hurt the cultural rights and interests as well as their national sentiment.

A photographer takes a picture of the Chinese bronze rat head and rabbit head sculptures displayed on the preview of the auction of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge's art collection at the Grand Palais in Paris, France, Feb. 21, 2009.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu made the remarks at a regular press conference as answering relevant questions.

The two bronze head sculptures, one rabbit and one rat, formed part of the zodiacal clepsydra that decorated the Calm Sea Pavilion in the Old Summer Palace of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795). They were stolen when the palace was burnt down by Anglo-French allied forces during the Second Opium War in 1860.

So far, five of the 12 bronze animal heads have been returned to China. The whereabouts of five others are unknown.

A team of 81 Chinese lawyers wrote to Christie's auction house in an effort to stop the sale of the bronzes. The team also attempted to get a French court to halt the case, but the court ruled against the bid on Monday.

"It is the international community's consensus as well as the basic cultural rights and interest of the people of the original owning country of cultural assets to protect cultural relics and return them to the original owning countries," Ma said.

He added that the Chinese government has attached great importance to the retrieval of looted cultural items. He added that it has joined international conventions, signed bilateral agreements with many countries and actively participates in international cooperation in this regard.

"The western powers have plundered a great amount of Chinese cultural relics in wars, including many precious items robbed from the Old Summer Palace. All these should be returned to China," Ma said.

China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) has voiced strong opposition with Christie's and demanded that the auction be stopped.

The Administration would not buy the sculptures, because buying them means China acknowledges they were taken legally.

As for the report that the current owner of the bronzes Pierre Berge said he would return the two heads of the sculpture so long as China gives liberty to the Tibet people and welcomes the Dalai Lama, the spokesman said it is absurd to infringe on the Chinese people's fundamental cultural rights under the banner of human rights.

He urged those involved to understand and respect the just demands of the Chinese people and help return Chinese cultural properties back to China.

The auction house is to stage the auction in Paris at 7 a.m. on Feb. 25 (local time). The two items are expected to fetch between 16 million and 20 million euros (20.8 million to 26 million U.S. dollars).

Paris court refuses to stop sale of looted Chinese bronzes

Ren Xiaohong (R), a lawyer for the Association for the Protection of Chinese Art in Europe (APACE), the plaintiff, speaks to the media with her colleague Ayagh at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris, capital of France, Feb. 23, 2009. The Paris court on Monday ruled against stopping the sale of two looted Chinese bronze sculptures which come up for auction at Christie's on Wednesday.(Xinhua/Zheng Suchun)

A Paris court rejected a bid to block the sale of two bronze sculptures looted from China that are to be auctioned with the art collection of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, a court official said on Monday, the Reuters reported.(Xinhua Photo)

A Paris court on Monday ruled against stopping the sale of two looted Chinese bronze sculptures which come up for auction at Christie's on Wednesday.

Under the ruling of the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris, the plaintiff, the Association for the Protection of Chinese Art in Europe (APACE), was ordered to pay compensation to the defendant.

Ren Xiaohong, a lawyer for the Association for the Protection of Chinese Art in Europe (APACE), the plaintiff, speaks to the media at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris, capital of France, Feb. 23, 2009. The Paris court on Monday ruled against stopping the sale of two looted Chinese bronze sculptures which come up for auction at Christie's on Wednesday.(Xinhua/Zheng Suchun)

Ren Xiaohong, a lawyer for APACE, told Xinhua that it was "of great significance" to file the lawsuit.

"We hope to arouse public attention in Europe on the fate of numerous Chinese works stolen in the past, to help keep those relics well protected and collected," Ren said.

The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) relics, the heads of a bronze rabbit and a rat, were among an original set of 12 bronze animal heads that once adorned the imperial summer resort Yuanmingyuan. They were looted when the palace was burnt down by Anglo-French allied forces during the Second Opium War in 1860.

Ayagh, a lawyer for the plaintiff, speaks to the media at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris, capital of France, Feb. 23, 2009. The Paris court on Monday ruled against stopping the sale of two looted Chinese bronze sculptures which come up for auction at Christie's on Wednesday.(Xinhua/Zheng Suchun)

The pair became part of a collection of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. They have been put up for auction by his partner, Pierre Berge.

The two items are expected to fetch between 16 million and 20 million euros (20.8 million to 26 million U.S. dollars).

So far, five of the 12 bronze animal heads have been returned to China, while the whereabouts of five others are unknown.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
  Related News

"Pig Beauty" competition held in Guangdong

Folk custom in S China: Jumping over bonfire

Liuxi lake attracts egrets

Direct container lines between South China and Taiwan inaugurated

Pirates of the Caribbean 3 premieres in China
This site contains material from other media for content enrichment purpose only.
The Southcn.com website do not endorse such content and do not bear the joint responsibility of their copyright infringement.
The views expressed in written material posted to the bulletin boards of Southcn.com are those of the authors and/or publishers. The Southcn.com website does not endorse information products posted by organizations and individuals here. The originators of these information products are solely responsible for their content.
For copyright infringement issues, you shall contact Southcn.com within thirty (30) days. Email: falv@southcn.com
If you find any error in this page, please drag your mouse to mark the text with error, then press "CTRL" and "ENTER", to inform us. Thanks for your help!
Home  |  About Us  |   Contact Us  |  Site Map  |  Chinese
©2005 WWW.NEWSGD.COM. All rights reserved.registered number 020074 Terms of Use | Advertise | ICP Certificate No.B2-20050252
Guangdong Gov Link
Guangdong Gov Brief
State Structure
Guangdong in Brief
Laws & Regulations
Exchange Rate
Guangdong Guide
   
Museum Museum
University University
Eat Eat
Shopping Duting
Night Life Night Life
Weather Weather
Phone No. Phone Num
Consulate Consulate
Airport Airport
Travel Tips Tours Tips