Casino tycoon buys back stolen Chinese relic

Stanley Ho, the Macau casino mogul, has bought a precious bronze relic that was stolen from China almost 150 years ago for a whooping US$8.9 million (£4.4 million) from a Taiwanese collector.

The rare bronze horse’s head was stolen form Beijing’s Old Summer Palace by looting French soldiers during the second Opium War in 1860. It was one of 12 animal heads from the Chinese zodiac that made up an ornate water clock fountain that told the time by shooting out water.

The piece finally resurfaced in 1989 when a Taiwanese collector bought it. He had planned to sell it at auction with Sotheby’s, but Ho pre-empted the sale.
Ho will now donate the piece back to China.

"I feel honoured to play a role in helping save lost (Chinese) cultural relics from overseas," said Ho in a statement.

The gesture made by Ho was warmly welcomed by China’s State Administration of Cultural Relics, who said it “highly praises and sincerely thanks Mr Ho’s patriotic move.”

Of all the 12 relics from the fountain, only seven have been located.

Editor, - 2007-09-21 11:02:21

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