Looted Treasure Returned to Beijing's Old Summer Palace

By That's Beijing, December 3, 2020

0 0

After its looting 160 years ago, an iconic horse-head bronze statue was returned on Tuesday, December 1 to the Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) in Beijing’s Haidian district.  

The horse-head is one of 12 statues that depict Chinese zodiac animals. It was designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Castiglione and made by royal craftsmen.

The statue was donated by the late Hong Kong-Macao tycoon Stanley Ho who passed away earlier this year. It was in the possession of the National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA) before being recently handed over to the Old Summer Palace. 

The Old Summer Palace served as an imperial garden between 1709 and 1860. It gained a reputation as the ‘garden of gardens’ thanks to its plethora of palaces, gardens and treasures. 

In 1860, British and French colonial forces destroyed many of the garden’s structures and looted its treasures. This included the horse-head bronze statue. Many other treasures remain on display in museums around the world. According to China Daily, “It is the first time that a lost important cultural relic from Yuanmingyuan has been returned to and housed at its original location after being repatriated from overseas.”

The Old Summer Palace is etched into the collective memory of many in China. For many Chinese citizens, Yuanmingyuan is symbolic of colonialism and China’s so-called ‘national humiliation.’

In October of this year, the Old Summer Palace marked the 160th anniversary of the looting. On October 18, visitors could enter the palace free of charge.

Many who took advantage of the free entry were eager to point out the importance of the anniversary and not to forget China’s ‘national shame.’ Ms. Liu, an art teacher, took her students to the Old Summer Palace for a painting activity. She told Global Times that she hoped her students could appreciate the historical significance of the ruins. Many of China’s netizens were equally keen to point out the anniversary’s importance. 

Over RMB10 million (USD1.52 million) has been spent on improving facilities to safely store the treasure. The statue will be displayed permanently in the Zhengjue Temple of the Old Summer Palace. 

[Cover image via China Daily]

more news

Beijing Subway just Banned Passengers from Carrying These Items

The new rules are in effect as of September 28, 2021.

Beijing Will See These Traffic Restrictions Before National Week

Activities to mark Martyrs Remembrance Day will take place on September 30 in Tiananmen Square.

WATCH: Universal Resort Beijing Guest Told Off By Transformer

A video has circulated on Chinese social media of a male guest at the resort raising his middle finger to Megatron.

Every District in Beijing May Soon Have Shared Bikes

Mentougou is currently the only one of Beijing's 16 districts not served by the three operational bike-share companies.

Beijing Community Locked Down After Suspected COVID-19 Cases?

On Wednesday, September 15, it was reported that suspected COVID cases were found in a Beijing residential community.

Here's What We Know About the New Beijing Stock Exchange

The announcement comes at a time when US-listed Chinese companies have come under scrutiny by investors.

Here's When Universal Beijing Resort Officially Opens

The announcement was made on the resort’s official WeChat account.

Universal Beijing Resort to Open to The Public? Well… Not Yet

The resort announced that trial operations with selected guests would begin on September 1.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives