BEIJING, April 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by China.org.cn on the looted Chinese cultural relic Tiger Ying auctioned in UK:
On April 11, the Tiger Ying, a cultural relic believed to be looted from China to the U.K., was sold at the Canterbury Auction for 410,000 pounds. The previous owner of the bronze vessel was Royal Marines Captain Harry Lewis Evans. His photos and letters indicate that the antique was very likely to be looted from the Old Summer Palace in the 19th century when British troops invaded China and ransacked the imperial garden.
In response, China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage released a statement strongly condemning the action taken by Canterbury Auction, which insisted on auctioning the cultural relic and even promoted it with a gimmick of war bounty.
The Tiger Ying was a bronze water vessel used in ancient China. Dating back some 3,000 years ago, it's a precious cultural relic. It is particularly special not only because its cap and spout were cleverly made into the shape of a tiger, but because such ancient practical bronze vessels are rare to find today.
Bronze vessels first appeared in China in the Xia Dynasty, which lasted from 2070 BC to 1600 BC. They reached their peak use in the Shang and Zhou dynasties that spanned a long period from 1600 BC to 221 BC. At that time, bronze vessels were used mostly in worship rituals. They had many functions, including food vessels, wine vessels, water vessels as well as musical instruments. Food vessels include Ding, a cooking vessel with two looped handles and three or four legs; Dou, a stemmed cup or bowl; and Gui, a round mouthed vessel with two or four looped handles.
The bronze vessels needed to go through special processes to produce exquisite features that are hard to achieve even today. They demonstrate the social productivity of that time. Since their production was limited, the number, size, function and combination style of bronze vessels all indicate the status of their owners in ancient China.
Cultural relics can tell stories of history. For China, a country with a time-honored history, cultural relics are especially precious, since they epitomize its several thousand years of civilization. However, statistics show that more than 10 million Chinese cultural relics have been lost overseas via various illegal means. Some of them were auctioned, and their origin as war loot was commercially hyped to manipulate Chinese people's sense of patriotism to drive up the price. Such ploys have aroused the resentment and indignation of the Chinese people.
We can't change history, but we can shape the future with friendship. For example, in 2013, the French Pinault family donated bronze rat and rabbit heads plundered from the Old Summer Palace to China. In our previous episode, we talked about a Japanese auction house in 2016 halting the sale of Chinese cultural relics illegally obtained by Otani Kozui in the early 1900s.
We hope more looted cultural relics can be returned to China as soon as possible in accordance with international conventions and consensus.
Tiger Ying: Looted Chinese cultural relic auctioned in UK
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