Skip to comments.Chinese bidder ‘won’t pay’ for looted bronzes
Posted on 03/03/2009 5:42:27 PM PST by kevin_in_so_cal
BEIJING, March 2 A Chinese art collector identified himself on Monday as the winning bidder in last weeks Paris auction for two sculptures looted from Beijing in the 1800s but said that, as a patriot, he had no intention of paying.
Christies, which had triggered Chinese anger by holding the sale, would not say what action it would take against the bidder, only that the bronze sculptures of the heads of a rat and a rabbit would not be released until it had been paid.
Cai Mingchao, a collector and adviser to a private foundation in China that seeks to retrieve looted treasures, said he successfully bid for the items which sold for 15 million euros ($20 million) each at an auction for the art collection of late designer Yves Saint Laurent.
But Cai said the relics should not have been put up for sale as they had been stolen from Beijings Summer Palace, which was razed in 1860 by French and British forces.
I think any Chinese person would have stood up at that moment. It was just that the opportunity came to me. I was merely fulfilling my responsibilities, said Cai, who in 2006 paid more than HK$100 million ($13 million) for a gold Buddha statue at an auction in Hong Kong.
The foundation, formally called the China Fund for Recovering Cultural Artefacts Lost Overseas, says on its website (www.relicsrecovery.org) that it was set up in 2002 in Beijing by a group of academics and prominent people.
A spokesman for Chinas State Administration of Cultural Heritage said the government body was unaware of the news conference and stressed that the foundation was not affiliated to the government.
Kate Malin, a spokeswoman for Christies in Hong Kong, would not comment as to what further action the auction house would take, but said: If someone doesnt pay, we try to work through the process with the buyer and the seller.
Any lot will not be released until the outstanding amount due to Christies has been received and the funds are cleared, she added.
Before the auction, France was already the target of Chinese public ire because President Nicolas Sarkozy had met the Dalai Lama, Tibets exiled Buddhist leader. The contention over the looted bronzes added to that anger.
A spokesman for the French Embassy in Beijing said he had not heard of Mondays news conference and could not comment.
Some online commentators had said China should not seek to buy the sculptures, as that would add to the insult.
Everyone knows that the related objects were plundered by the joint Anglo-French forces during the Second Opium War and are precious artefacts which have been overseas for many years, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news briefing last month.
Five other bronze heads looted from the Summer Palace are still unaccounted for and it is unknown if they were destroyed or in private collections.
Who would want those bronze heads anyway? They are not very attractive and ownership can get a billion people mad at you. Time to return them to China.
Funny, isn’t it, that the very people with the most flamboyant disregard for the property right of others should have not only an above-average sensitivity to their OWN property rights, but indeed be the most sensitive this way of ANYONE IN THE WORLD.
Did you know that ALL pandas all over the world are leased from China? Yes, that’s right, and in most cases at a rate of $1,000,000 per year.
Those bronze heads were crafted by an Italian jesuit as part of a fountain that was itself part of a private amusement park for the Qianlong emperor. Apparently a later empress shared your opinion and thought the things ugly and ordered them removed and put into storage. The looters who ended up taking them likely ransacked them from a warehouse.
How about we give the chinese commies their statues back and they give the Tibetans their country back?
Actually, his schooling is mostly from China, including his first two degrees. But you're right - I was stretching. And strangely enough, it would have worked - for his department - if entire world (including the ratings agencies) hadn't adopted his methodology. The key requirement was that nobody else used it. Once it got out, and the entire world floored the accelerator, it was only a matter of time before the whole shooting match came apart.