Calls are mounting for the return of a 3,000-year-old bronze water vessel, known as the Tiger Ying, that was likely looted from Beijing’s Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace) in 1860. The Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC-771 BC) relic is set to be auctioned at Canterbury Auction Galleries in London on Wednesday, with an anticipated selling price of 120,000 to 200,000 pounds (US$168,000-280,000).
The State Administration of Cultural Heritage responded: “It is the broad consensus of the international community and the consistent position of the Chinese government to respect the cultural heritage of this and other countries. And calls on international friendly personage with humanitarian spirit to oppose and condemn the sale of illegally lost cultural relics.”
Documents found by the United Kingdom auction house suggest Royal Marines Captain Harry Lewis Evans (1831-83), who fought in the Second Opium War between 1856 and 1860, could have looted the Tiger Ying when the Old Summer Palace was destroyed and sacked by British and French troops in 1860.
Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor of international relations at China’s Renmin University, said the issue is of importance to the Chinese people because the “burning of the Yuanmingyuan has been a symbol of shame for Chinese people for many years”. But legal experts in the UK said China has little or no legal claim in international courts because it was taken more than a century ago.
The state administration for cultural heritage will closely monitor the progress of the incident and continue to facilitate the return of illegally obtained cultural objects.
Source(s): China Daily, CGTN
Editor: Bonnie Lu