National treasures, once found only in museums, are now being copied and used to beautify homes.
Since January, the National Museum of Chinese History and the Beijing Dong Fang Dian Shi Scheme Co Ltd have jointly issued a collection of bronze, miniatures of the 10 most famous ancient Chinese bronze collections and have announced they will sell 2,008 collections of bronze ware.
The bronze ware collection, which includes the simuwu ding, an ancient cooking vessel, and the four-arm bronze zun, a wine vessel, has attracted many customers.
According to sources from the Beijing Dong Fang Dian Shi Scheme Co Ltd, more than 400 collections have been sold so far and demand greatly exceeds supply.
Media said there were two "antiques" popular in China today. One is the Chinese jacket, and the other is bronze imitations.
Both the above have been given by the government as official gifts to overseas guests. In May 2001, the world's political leaders wore traditional Chinese jackets provided by the Chinese Government. They were also spotlighted during the Shanghai APEC meeting.
Imitation bronzes have made it possible for ordinary citizens to enjoy treasures at home.
Zhang Yanping, an official with the museum, said that selling copies of the national treasures can help popularize China's 5,000 years of history. In addition, with the improvement of living standards, citizens can now afford the products.
In fact, the market success of the imitated bronze wares has attracted more and more companies to try their fortune in the cloned cultural relics market.
However, the development of the market for cloned treasures has not always run smoothly.
According to a report released a year ago, an organization imitated the "Gou Jian Sword," made in the Warring States period (475-221 BC), without the permission of the collector, Hubei provincial museum, resulting in arguments and dissent.
Sources from the museum said producing imitations of national treasures offended the Law of the People's Republic of China for the Protection of Cultural Relics.
But some experts said museums should use their own resources and introduce fair competition to fit in with the market economy.
(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2002)