Chinese lawyers are preparing to sue at Christie's
ARTinvestment.RU   24 января 2009

The group of Chinese lawyers is preparing to file suit in court to prevent the sale at an auction of two bronze sculptures from the collection of Yves Saint Laurent

The group of Chinese lawyers, enthusiasts of the 67 people preparing to file suit in court to prevent the sale at auction in February, two bronze sculptures from the collection of the celebrated French couturier Yves Saint-Laurent (Yves Saint Laurent). This is the chief representative of the group said Liu Yan (Liu Yang).

thing is that these two sculptures, made in the form of heads of rabbit and rat, are among the 12 zodiacal animals, served as adornment fountain in the park of Chinese imperial summer palace Yuanminyuan . It was looted by British and French troops in October 1860 at the end of the second opium war. Now they are together with other objects from the collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berger exhibited at auction Christie ' s, which will take place 23-25 February in Paris . It was expected that the auction will bring to 300 million euros, and proceeds will be credited to the charity fund, which aims at finding a cure for AIDS.

In an official statement, the house Christie's, received in response to a query about the upcoming auction, said: «Each item of this collection is totally legal in origin. We strictly adhere to all regional and international law ». According to the UN Convention Unidroit, adopted in 1995, all claims on stolen cultural artifacts are limited to 50 years after the theft.

But Liu Yang in a telephone interview said: «These items belong to China and to return to their country». He also added that the lawsuit will be filed in French courts. With the help of Chinese lawyers want to prevent the sale and return the sculptures to their homeland.

According to figures published in 2003, Xinhua News, more than one million of valuable Chinese artifacts have been scattered all over the world. They are stored in the collections of more than 200 museums from 47 countries. Pillage and looting have been particularly prevalent in the period after the First Opium War (1839-1842), when British, Russian and other foreign troops annexed some parts of China.

Return of historic and cultural property lost during the foreign invasions - is «a long and complex legal process», - noted the founder of the non-governmental Center for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Beijing. In a telephone interview he also said: «We can spend their time and effort to recover these lost relics, not receiving a response to almost anything. Or we could move forward and try to preserve the treasures we have ».

material produced Catherine Onuchin

Sources: ,

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