40 Million Dollars For The Chinese Bronze Statues

Even though some Chinese lawyers threatened to initiate a lawsuit against the buyer of the Chinese bronze statues looted from the Old Summer Palace, the lots went much higher than estimated in the last day of the three-day auction of the collection from Yves Saint Laurent.

According to Bloomberg, both fetched 14 million Euros which equals roughly 40 million dollars including fees. Both were sold to telephone bidders. (Could they be some patriotic Chinese tycoons?)

My view is that even though there may not be a legal issue with respect to the auction transaction. The bronze statues, due to their significant symbolic meaning (favorite objects of the Emperor QianLong in the Royal Garden which was burned and looted by British and French in 1860), they should be returned to the Chinese people. The buyers must be aware that they would never be proud to exhibit them unless they get the nod from the country of origin. Great collections are not built on greed, but on persistence, patience, discipline and consciousness.

Previous posts:

Follow up — French Judge Rejected the Petition To Block Two Bronze Animal Heads From Yuanming Yuan

The Call at the Last Minute — Christie’s Auctioning Relics From Yuanming Yuan

Why It Matters To Chinese And So What — More About Two Bronze Statues From Yuan Ming Yuan

About Hui

Wang Hui lived from 1632 - 1717 and followed in the footprints of his great grandfathers, grandfather, father and uncles and learned painting at a very early age. He was later taught by two contemporary masters, Zhang Ke and Wang Shimin, who taught him to work in the tradition of copying famous Chinese paintings. This is most likely the reason why critics claim that his work is conservative and reflects the Yuan and Song traditions. One critic claimed that "his landscape paintings reflect his nostalgic attachment to classical Chinese aesthetics. Along with the other Wangs, Wang Hui helped to perpetuate the tradition of copying the ancient masters rather than creating original work.

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Chinese Bidder Says He Won’t Pay for Looted Bronzes

A Chinese collector and auctioneer, Cai Mingchao, said at a news conference in Beijing he had made the anonymous winning bids for the 18th-century bronze heads of a rat and a rabbit. He described himself as a consultant with the Lost Cultural Relics Recovery Program, a nongovernmental group that seeks to bring looted artifacts back to China.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/world/asia/03auction.html?ref=design

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