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. Chinese lawyers have filed a motion to a French court seeking an injunction to stop auction house Christie's putting two bronze relics looted from China under the hammer, lawyers said Friday. The two relics, a bronze rat head and a bronze rabbit head, were looted from China's imperial summer resort Yuanmingyuan when it was burnt down by Anglo-French allied forces during the Second Opium War in 1860. [Zhang Yuwei/Xinhua]
A Paris court rejected a motion to block the sale of two bronze relics looted from China's Imperial Summer Palace under the hammer, a court official said on Monday.
Association for the Protection of the Art of China in Europe president Bernard Gomez submitted the application to the court last Thursday, said Liu Yang, who orchestrated the transnational lawsuit and heads the 85 volunteer lawyers.
Auctioneer Christie's brought a seven-member legal team to court yesterday to counter the motion, one of the two lawyers supporting the motion told China Daily yesterday.
But the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris rejected it, an official at the Paris court told Reuters. The court also ordered APACE to pay auctioneer's Christie's and Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's former business manager and companion, 1,000 euros (US$1,274) in costs each.
The bronze rat and rabbit heads are part of a zodiacal collection of 12 animals that decorated the palace in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). They were stolen when the palace was ransacked by Anglo-French troops during the Second Opium War in 1860. Five have been returned to China, while the whereabouts of the others are unknown.
The relics belong to the Yves Saint Laurent Foundation and are expected to raise as much as 30 million euros (US$39 million), Christie's had said.
Ren Xiaohong, a Chinese attorney licensed in France, China and New York State, represented Gomez along with another French attorney. Gomez was the best plaintiff because his organization has worked closely with the Chinese government to restitute Chinese relics lost overseas, Liu said.
(CRI/China Daily February 24, 2009)