Past and present of China's stolen animal heads

By Chen Xia
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 26, 2019
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On Nov. 13, a bronze horse head sculpture was returned to the Old Summer Palace, known as Yuanmingyuan, in Beijing.

The horse head was donated by Macao billionaire Stanley Ho, who bought it at auction in 2007.

The bronze horse head displayed at an exhibition in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 14, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

It is part of a water clock fountain consisting of 12 bronze Chinese zodiac statues that was once a feature of the Old Summer Palace. 

During the Second Opium War in 1860, Anglo-French allied forces destroyed the royal garden, and looted precious imperial collections kept there, including the 12 animal heads. 

According to experts, the animal heads are not very valuable in terms of materials and production techniques. However, every time they appeared somewhere, the news would cause a sensation in China. That raises a question as to why are they so important. 

Let's take a look at their past and present situation, and you may find the answer.

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