Two more zodiac sculptures surface

  • Share
  • Read Later

Just over a year ago, Austin and I wrote about a bronze horse head from Beijing’s Old Summer Palace that was controversially auctioned off at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. Macau’s casino tycoon Stanley Ho swept it up for $8.84 million and donated it to the state-run Poly museum in Beijing. Now two more of the 12 zodiac animal heads, looted by British and French troops in 1860, have surfaced and are set to be sold in February at a Christie’s auction in Paris. Turns out the rat and rabbit heads had been part of the late fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent’s extensive art collection. Chinese officials have said they will not take part in the sale. Song Xinchao, museum director at the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, told China Daily, “We will not purchase things that belong to us.”

I blogged about the horse sale last year, and included a link that shows a drawing of the grand water clock that originally featured the animal heads.

And here’s my updated list of the whereabouts of the 12 statues:

1. Rat: was in Yves Saint Laurent’s collection. Will be auctioned off in Paris in February 2009.
2. Ox: bought by the China Poly Group in 2000, now at the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.
3. Tiger: bought by the China Poly Group in 2000, now at the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.
4. Rabbit: was in Yves Saint Laurent’s collection. Will be auctioned off in Paris in February 2009.
5. Dragon: unknown
6. Snake: unknown
7. Horse: was in a private collection in Taiwan. Purchased by Stanley Ho in 2007 and donated to China. Currently at the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.
8. Sheep: unknown
9. Monkey: bought by the China Poly Group in 2000, now at the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.
10. Rooster: unknown
11. Dog: in 2003, a Hong Kong auction house claimed to be selling the dog from the Summer Palace water clock, but consultants from the Poly Art Museum said the craftsmanship didn’t match the other four the Poly Group has recovered.
12. Pig: purchased by Stanley Ho in 2003 (from a NY collector) and donated to China. Currently at the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.

0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest