Return of lost Western Zhou Dynasty relic bridges cultures

By LIA ZHU and CHANG JUN in Portland, Oregon | | Updated: 2024-02-07 10:16
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A staff member adjusts with great caution the bronze vessel "Feng Xingshu Gui" for a brief display at the Portland Art Museum on Jan 22, where a repatriation ceremony was held to welcome home the stolen Chinese relic. CHANG JUN / CHINA DAILY

The London-based Art Loss Register put Feng Xingshu Gui in its own database after Interpol listed it as stolen art in 2017. When the Sotheby's researcher contacted the company about the bronze vessel, the company informed the Chinese embassy in London and was later connected with the office for recovery and restitution of cultural property in Beijing.

Li said the repatriation of Feng Xingshu Gui is an example of different countries taking concerted action to fight illicit trafficking of cultural property. It is also an outcome of 15 years of US-China cooperation in cultural heritage protection, fostered by a memorandum of understanding first signed in 2009, he said.

Over the 15 years, many Americans, like King and his mother, have helped to return the Chinese artifacts lost abroad to the motherland, Li added.

The agreement, renewed twice in 2014 and 2019, has recently been extended for another five years. It will act as a guideline for US Customs and Border Protection officers to restrict the importing of certain archaeological materials from China.

Between 2009 and 2023, 504 Chinese cultural relics were returned from the United States to China on 15 occasions, thanks to bilateral judicial cooperation based on the agreement document.

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