12 Buddhist relics recovered in the United States transferred to the Tibet Museum


Beijing, Sept. 27 (Global Times): China’s National Administration of Cultural Heritage announced on a video conference on Sunday that it will transfer 12 cultural relics and works of art recovered from the United States to the Tibet Museum in the Tibet Autonomous Region (southwest China).

According to Chinese experts, the 12 artifacts date from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The precious cultural relics include five statues of Buddha in gold and bronze and a crystal tower in gilded bronze made with excellent craftsmanship.

In particular, a brass statue of the Buddha created in the late Ming or early Qing times shows an important combined Han-Tibetan ethnic style. Its hexagonal pedestal is mainly seen in the Han-Tibetan Thangka style – Tibetan paintings on silk – and wall paintings, but it is a relatively rare sight for a bronze statue.

Complex work in the Han-Tibetan style

The new exhibit will open soon at the Tibet Museum, the largest comprehensive museum in Tibet. In order to support the protection and use of cultural relics in the region, the National Administration of Cultural Heritage of China has decided to transfer together the batch of 12 cultural relics and works of art to the Tibet Museum and display them at the time. the opening of the new museum exhibition.

According to the National Administration of Cultural Heritage of China, information was received in March that a consignment of alleged Chinese cultural relics and works of art had been seized by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in the United States. .

The coins were later confirmed as illegally smuggled Chinese relics. On April 15, the administration issued a repatriation notice to the United States, which then agreed to return the relics. On July 16, the 12 cultural relics and works of art arrived safely in Beijing.

A stolen relic found in an American museum

As China and the United States are both signatories to the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Importation, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the United States has returned several batches of cultural relics to China in March 2011, December 2015 and February 2019. This is another example of successful cooperation between the two countries.

Huo Zhengxin, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Monday that the successful cooperation in repatriating cultural relics between China and the United States is mainly due to a protocol of agreement that the two countries signed in 2009.

Another Han-Tibetan treasure

The MOU detailed import restrictions on classified archaeological materials from the Paleolithic Age to the end of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and monuments, sculptures and murals over 250 years old.

“The protection of cultural relics is currently the most stable and least affected area in the strained relations between China and the United States,” Huo noted.

“China and the United States, as the world’s largest countries in the trade of cultural relics, should take responsibility for protecting the treasures of mankind and cooperate more in the future,” Huo said, suggesting that the two countries should take measures to prevent the smuggling of cultural relics into Afghanistan.


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