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HomeNewsAcademic activities
Yuanmingyuan carries out investigation into damaged cultural relic
From:CGTN  Writer:  Date:2017-08-11
The cultural relics protection department at Beijing’s Old Summer Palace garden park has begun an investigation into a damaged guardian lion sculpture, after an eagle-eyed visitor noticed that one of the rolling stone balls in the sculpture’s mouth had disappeared.

Last year, a man surnamed Li, who is an antiquities enthusiast, paid a visit to the  Old Summer Palace, also known in Chinese as Yuanmingyuan, when he chanced upon a pair of stone guardian lions on display at an exhibition of dispersed cultural relics that had been returned to China. 


Mr. Li captured the pair of guardian lions before the ball went missing. /Beijing Youth Daily Photo

“The guardian lions were meticulously carved. Also, in each sculpture’s mouth, there were two stone balls rolling freely without falling out.” Mr. Li told the Beijing Youth Daily.

Deeply impressed by the delicate design of the sculpture, he took a photo and kept it as a souvenir.

A year later, Mr. Li decided to revisit the park and see the lions again. But when he went to inspect them, he found out that one of the balls inside the mouth of one lion was missing.

“I suspected that someone might have taken the ball out somehow. It’s such a shame. This piece of treasure had survived the tumultuous years of war and revolution, but ended up getting ruined like this.” Mr. Li said.


Mr. Li captured the pair of guardian lions before the ball went missing. /Beijing Youth Daily Photo

The pair of stone guardian lions, together with a group of rare stone sculptures, was displayed outdoors without much protection at the southern corner of the park.

Though the exhibition area was covered by surveillance camera, staff from the park reported that they didn’t notice stealing or breaking of the stone ball. An investigation is now underway.


Ruins of Yuanmingyuan, also known as the Old Summer Palace. /Yuanmingyuan Photo

The Old Summer Palace was the victim of a massive looting in 1860 during the Second Opium War, when hundreds of Chinese cultural relics were either ruined or removed. 

In 2006, a new move was put into action collecting and requesting the return of the dispersed cultural relics. Despite the park’s hard work, fewer than 100 cultural relics, mainly stone sculptures, have been returned so far.


 
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