The looting of the Summer Palace in Beijing (an act carried out largely under the instruction of the Eighth Earl of Elgin – Son of the Seventh Earl who took the Parthenon Marbles) continues to cause controversy today, due to the fact that many of the artefacts from the site have ended up in museums around the world – although often they are not even on public display.
Now though, China is making a first step towards resolving the issue, building up a catalogue of the surviving artefacts & where they are located.
Wall Street Journal
China Goes Treasure Hunting
Nationalism, not art history, drives the hunt for Summer Palace artifacts.
OPINION ASIA – NOVEMBER 23, 2009, 1:16 P.M. ET
By PETER NEVILLE-HADLEY
Next year Beijing will mark the 150th anniversary of the burning and looting of the Summer Palace by British and French forces. But the city has hit on an odd way to commemorate these events: In preparation, Palace Director Chen Mingjie recently announced that researchers will attempt to catalogue every item looted from the complex and now in museums overseas.
At first sight this might appear to be a purely academic exercise. Mr. Chen says he wants to identify works of art, not repatriate them, but on closer examination the plan has all the makings of a public-relations effort aimed at the Chinese people themselves.
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