China ‘Condemns’ British Gallery For Sending Seized Chinese Artifact To Auction

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China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage condemned a British auction house for selling an ancient Chinese artifact Wednesday.

The administrative agency opposed England’s Canterbury Auction Galleries auctioning off an ancient bronze water vessel that sold for approximately $580,000, BBC reported. The ancient relic was crafted between 1100 and 771 B.C. during the Western Zhou Dynasty. A British soldier stole the vessel from the Imperial Garden in 1860 during the Second Opium War. British and French troops destroyed the Imperial Garden during the war.

The artifact had an estimate worth of $226,000, according to Reuters.

“We hope the relevant agencies will abide by the spirit of the international conventions, respect the feelings of the people of the country of origin of the cultural relics, do not buy or sell illegally-run cultural relics, or conduct commercial hype in the name of such cultural relics,” said Wen Xuan, an official from China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage. “We have consistently opposed and condemned the sale of illegally-discharged cultural relics.”

The Canterbury Auction House previously advertised the vessel as “Tiger Ying.” Alastair Gibson, an art consultant who specializes in Chinese art for the auction house, found the artifact. The 3,000-year-old vessel was made for people of high status, such as nobles during the Zhou period.

Only six other similar vessels are in existence, according to the BBC.

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