Netherlands Prince Johan Friso Wednesday came to China and awarded this year's top Prince Claus Prize to Wang Shixiang, an expert on Chinese relics.
Wang, born in 1914, won the prize for his pioneering research into Chinese handicrafts. His publications on the topic handicrafts mapped out an important aspect of the national legacy.
The Prince Claus Prizes are awarded annually to artists, intellectuals and cultural organizations for extraordinary achievement in the cultural arena.
Generally, the Prince Claus Prizes are presented in Amsterdam. However, because of his advanced age, Wang Shixiang was presented the prize at the Netherlands embassy in Beijing, capital of China.
His creative research had proved that without Wang Shixiang, some Chinese culture would still be unknown to the world, said Prince Johan Friso at the award ceremony.
Wang is the first Chinese to win the honor. In addition to the first prize, ten Prince Claus Laureate Prizes are also awarded each year and Chinese director Tian Zhuangzhuang, musician Cui Jian and architect Wu Liangyong have won such honors in previous years.
Wang attributed his 50 years of successful research to the support of his wife who died last month.
"My wife knew I would receive the honor and agreed with my suggestion to donate all the prize of 100,000 euros (US$120,000) to Project Hope to set up a Chinese-Dutch primary school for poor children," Wang said.
The school will be built in east China's Fujian Province, Wang Shixiang's hometown.
Wang Shixiang also auctioned 143 pieces from his collection last week, which were sold for 63 million yuan (US$7.59 million).
(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2003)