February 14, 2007

The British Museum’s relationship with China

Posted at 11:45 am in British Museum

The first direct benefits from the British Museums collaboration with China is going to be a major exhibition later this year on the Terracotta Army.
Here it is clear that the museum has realised the benefits for both sides of collaboration – with many cases though such as those involving restitution requests they have tried as hard as possible to avoid getting involved in any sort of joint discussions, not realising that agreements could be made which would have a positive outcome for all parties.

The Anchor (Rhode Island College)

LETTER TO AMERICA – Moving to England, Staying for the Museums
Written by Stephen Morse, Anchor Senior British Corresponent
Tuesday, 13 February 2007


It was announced on Thursday 8th February that twelve of the 8,099 figures from China’s famous ‘Terracotta Army’ are to be shipped to England as an exhibit in the British museum in London. These life-seized figures were originally created in order to guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuangdi, and were buried with him in roughly 210 BC to be discovered only as recently as 1974. Visited in their native China by two-million people annually, people are getting very excited by the prospect of the Army’s first voyage to England. Well, if it’s good enough for Miss Brazil, then it’s certainly good enough for a dozen aging warriors.

All of this has been made possible by a new relationship forged between the government of China and the British museum, which will reportedly open an exhibition in Beijing next month. However, China should be warned; once the British Museum gets it hands on world-famous treasures, it doesn’t always hand them back. The Elgin Marbles, those magnificent relief sculptures that once adorned Greece’s most memorable tribute to the Goddess Athena, were captured from their native homeland and placed in the British museum in 1816, and have been there for the past 191 years, despite protests to return them ever since. If China doesn’t want a repeat of this debacle, I would suggest marking them with a reliable brand of UV pen.

Just in case.

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