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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The 12 bronze animal heads are actually not of very high value in terms of materials and production techniques, according to Luo Zhewen (1924-2012), a renowned Chinese architect and former head of Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage. 

Seven repatriated bronze animal heads – pig, rabbit, ox, horse, rat, tiger and monkey – are displayed at an exhibition in Beijing on Nov. 15, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

However, they shouldn't be evaluated pure on value terms, said Liu Yang, a member of the Academic Committee of the Yuanmingyuan Society of China.

For one thing, the 12 animal heads are ingenious combination of Chinese zodiac culture, European timing method and European sculpture techniques; for another, their story of being looted and returned home are of particular historical importance to Chinese people.

They were looted when the country was at its weakest, and were traded by different owners. Their journey home is a witness to China's efforts of seeking national rejuvenation after suffering turmoil and foreign aggression for over a century.

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