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Imperial Chinese wine jar stolen from Belgian museum

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-22 03:26

BRUSSELS -- A porcelain wine jar, a masterpiece from the Chinese imperial workshops dating from the 16th century (Ming Dynasty), was stolen overnight from the Royal Museum of Mariemont in the province of Hainaut, Belgium.

According to initial reports, three individuals broke into the Museum around 4 am (2 am GMT) and stole the "priceless" object, as the Museum said in a press release on Sunday.

All security protocols were activated, the Museum said. Alarms went off and security cameras captured a series of images that were handed over to local police.

According to museum director Richard Veymiers, quoted by RTBF, the thieves seemed well-prepared and carried out their operation in just a few minutes. "They knew exactly where to enter, where to exit and which object was displayed in which room."

The wine jar, decorated with an aquatic motif, was acquired by Belgian industrialist Raoul Warocque during a diplomatic mission to China in 1912.

An investigation has been opened by the local police and the federal police to find the jar and identify the perpetrators of the theft.

Despite the theft, the museum remains open to the public this Sunday. However, the East Asian room affected by the theft has been temporarily closed.

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