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Relics to be returned

Updated: 2013-04-27 09:11
By Lin Shujuan ( China Daily)

Tycoon bought looted treasure for nation in 2007

Relics to be returned

This handout picture received yesterday from Sotheby's auction house shows Macao casino mogul Stanley Ho standing next to the Bronze Horse Head he recently purchased for $8.84 million in Hong Kong. AFP

Macao gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun has bought a rare bronze horse head plundered by British and French troops in the 19th century for HK$69.1 million ($8.84 million) and donated it to the motherland in 2007.

The sale set a record in the trade of Chinese sculptures from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Sotheby's Hong Kong said in a news release.

The deal stopped the national treasure looted from the Yuanmingyuan (the Old Summer Palace) being auctioned at Sotheby's autumn auction.

"We do not agree with cultural relics which were smuggled, stolen, or looted in wars being auctioned," Song Xinchao, director of museums department at the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, told a press conference in Beijing.

He thanked Ho for his "patriotic act" and said the administration welcomes donations of cultural relics from abroad.

"I feel honored to have played a role in saving lost Chinese cultural relics from overseas," Ho, 85, said in a statement.

Ho was ranked 104th on Forbes' list of billionaires this year, with $7 billion in personal wealth.

The statue is one of the 12 bronze heads of zodiac animals that graced a water-clock fountain in the Old Summer Palace, which was destroyed by the British and the French in 1860.

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