Domestic News

Police repatriate long-lost antique from abroad

2019-01-28

POLICE in North China’s Shanxi Province have repatriated a precious bronze plate, a long-lost cultural relic, local authorities announced Saturday.

The Shanxi police received a tip-off in early June of last year that a key cultural relic under state protection was illegally sold abroad by a group of tomb raiders years ago.

The Jin bronze plate, dating back to the Spring and Autumn period (770 B.C. - 476 B.C.), had changed hands in many provinces before being sold overseas. The police took months to identify the location of the lost treasure and related tomb raiders and smugglers.

According to archaeologists, the Jin bronze plate was a sacrificial vessel designed for the Jin emperor over 2,600 years ago. The relic has a diameter of 40 cm and weighs over 7 kg.

The plate, engraved with dragons, turtles, water birds, frogs, fish and other animals, is seen as an auspicious symbol of royalty, longevity and fortune in Chinese culture.

There are 183 characters engraved in the interior surface of the plate, considered precious cultural records by researchers that tell about the prosperity of the Jin empire.

Shanxi has tightened its crackdown on cultural relic crimes over the years. In 2018, the police uncovered 589 related crimes, seized 885 suspects and broke up 98 gangs.