France returns 32 cultural relics to Chinese museum

Updated: 2015-07-20 12:47


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LANZHOU - Thirty-two gold ornaments stolen from ancient Chinese tombs and held by French collectors were formally handed over to northwest China's Gansu Provincial Museum on Monday.

Li Xiaojie, head of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, presented a gold ornament to Liu Weiping, Gansu provincial governor, at a hand-over ceremony on Monday morning, marking the relics' return.

It was the first time cultural relics have been successfully returned to China following bilateral negotiations between the Chinese and French governments. They were returned by French private collectors Francois Pinault and Christian Deydier earlier this year.

The 32 gold items came from tombs in Dabuzishan in Lixian County, Gansu Province dating back to the Spring and Autumn period (770 BC-476 BC). The tombs were badly looted during the 1990s and a large number of relics, including the gold ornaments, were smuggled abroad.

A public exhibition of the relics also opened on Monday and will last until Oct. 31. After that, they will be permanently displayed at the Gansu Provincial Museum.