|Art Stolen from Beijing's Forbidden City, Thieves Take Nine Objects from Exhibition|
Palace Museum spokesman Feng Naien looks at a list of stolen art pieces during a news conference inside the Forbidden City in Beijing Wednesday, May 11, 2011. Officials scrambled to figure out how thieves broke into China's famed Forbidden City, the heavily guarded former home of the country's emperors, and stole seven art pieces made of gold and encrusted with jewels made in the 20th century on loan from the private Liang Yi Museum in Hong Kong. AP Photo/Andy Wong.
By: Alexa Olesen, Associated Press
BEIJING (AP).- Officials scrambled Wednesday to figure out how thieves broke into China's famed Forbidden City, the heavily guarded former home of the country's emperors, and stole seven art pieces made of gold and jewels.
It was the first theft in 20 years from the historic site, spokesman Feng Nai'en said, adding that security would be increased.
"For this to happen here shows us that, No. 1, we need to speed up the modernization and installation of our security systems," Feng said. "No. 2, we need to investigate carefully and find out if we can implement better, more modern and more sophisticated security systems."
Guards saw a suspect fleeing the scene early Monday but failed to nab him, Feng said.
An investigation found that nine pieces all small Western-style gold purses and mirrored compacts covered with jewels made in the 20th century were missing from the temporary exhibition, on loan from the private Liang Yi Museum in Hong Kong.
Two of the missing items were recovered nearby and were slightly damaged.
Feng said the entire Palace Museum will be checked to see if any other items are missing.
Wang Xiahong, curator of the Liang Yi Museum, refused to reveal the value of the stolen items, which belong to Hong Kong art collector Fung Yiu Fai. She said that despite the theft, the exhibition would continue and other pieces would be added to the show, which is temporarily closed but expected to reopen soon.
The museum's deputy director, Ma Jige, told reporters he felt "very guilty and sorry" about the theft. He stood up and bowed to Wang in a show of remorse.
Karen Smith, a Beijing art curator and historian, said the theft was "a big loss of face" for the museum but would probably result in much improved security at the sprawling landmark.
She also noted that the robbery targeted items of relatively low value and prestige, not the museum's best-known treasures such as its large collection of rare and delicate scroll paintings. Those pieces are undoubtedly much better protected, she said.
"If you were really going to go and steal something from the Palace Museum, there's a lot more valuable things you could make off with," Smith said.
It wasn't immediately clear whether future cooperation with other international exhibitors would be affected by the incident.
Hundreds of thousands of rare and valuable pieces originally housed in the Forbidden City were secreted away to Taipei's Palace Museum when Taiwan split from the mainland during a civil war 62 years ago.
China still claims Taiwan as part of its own territory and insists the art at Taipei's Palace Museum rightfully belongs on the mainland.
Beijing's Palace Museum lent dozens of items to Taiwan for an exhibition in 2009, but Taiwan is still hesitant to lend China artifacts out of fear that they would not be returned.
An official with Taiwan's Palace Museum said the ownership concerns mean there are no immediate plans for an exhibition in China. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she is not authorized to talk to the media.
Associated Press writer Debby Wu in Taipei contributed to this report.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
May 12, 2011
Andy Warhol's First and Last Self-Portraits Fetch a Combined $66 Million at Christie's
The Prado Museum Announces Presentation of Its Collection in Australia
Digital Images of Yale's Vast Cultural Collections Now Available for Free to Individuals
Leopold Museum Announces Favorable Conclusion Over Egon Schiele Painting Dispute
Police Arrest Man after Theft from Heavily Guarded Forbidden City in Beijing
Previously Unseen Photographs of the Fab Four Brought to the San Francisco Art Exchange
Exceptional Complete Portfolio of Mao by Andy Warhol Offered on artnet Auctions
Collection of Vintage New England Movie Theater Photos for Sale at Philip Weiss Auction
Sotheby's: Record Set for a London Sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
The Contemporary Jewish Museum Presents Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories
Lyons Wier Gallery Presents Mary Henderson's Newest Group of Hyper-Real Paintings
Top Prices Paid Once Again for Works of Art by Japanese Artist Shibata Zeshin at Bonhams
Mexican Artist Hands Over Aztatlan Archaeological Pieces to Mexican Government
Bank of America Art Conservation Project To Restore Global Cultural Treasures in 2011
Faggionato Fine Art Presents 'Lingua Franca', Exhibition of New Works by Tarka Kings
Sotheby's Announces Auction in Aid of the Serpentine Gallery's New Space in Kensington Gardens
Sotheby's Zurich Celebrates The Muses of Swiss Art in Sale to Be Held on May 30
Important American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture Offered at Sotheby's New York
Benson Masterwork to Lead Christie's Sale of Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture
Metropolitan Museum and the Whitney Announce Collaborative Agreement for Breuer Building
Art Stolen from Beijing's Forbidden City, Thieves Take Nine Objects from Exhibition
New York Daily News Cartoonist Bill Gallo Dies
From Street Singer to Mistress of David Garrick, Bonhams Offers Portrait if Dublin Actress Peg Woffington
The Heckscher Museum of Art Presents Edward Weston: Life Work
Rafael Viñoly Architects Announces Completion of Translational Research Center at Penn
LACMA Presents Twenty-Four Hour Screening of Newly Acquired Artwork
Sotheby's London to Offer The Bordeaux Winebank Collection Part III
Art Community Around the World Rally to Aid China's Best-Known Contemporary Artist
Meadows Museum Acquires Rare Masterwork by Spanish Court Painter Vicente López
Sotheby's Announces Details of Impressionist & Modern Art Sale to Be Held in Paris
World Record Breaking $6.077+ Million Comics Sale at Heritage Auctions
Changes in Vegetation Determine How Animals Migrate, Scientists at the Smithsonian's National Zoo Find
New York City's MoMA to Buy Museum of Folk Art Next Door
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Ancient erotic frescoes get makeover at the Contemporary Art Museum in Casoria
2.- One million dollar Pablo Picasso painting yours for just $135 in online charity raffle
3.- Robert L. Oswald, Brother of Lee Harvey Oswald Disputes Last Week's Sale of Coffin
4.- Australian psychedelic artist Martin Sharp, who designed posters for Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, dies
5.- Skull find shows young women were sacrificed in China more than 4,000 years ago
6.- Istanbul monastery, considered the most important of Constantinople, 'to be turned into mosque'
7.- Detroit Institute of Arts statement regarding City of Detroit's eligibility to file for bankruptcy
8.- Christie's sets a new world auction record for a painting by Edward Hopper
9.- Ryan O'Neal defends taking ex-lover's Warhol picture in University of Texas lawsuit
10.- French film and installation artist Laure Prouvost wins Great Britain's Turner prize
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|