Row over imperial bronze sculptures inspires star's next movie

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 February, 2009, 12:00am

Christie's controversial auction of two imperial bronze sculptures has not only angered the people of China but also inspired Jackie Chan to further explore the importance of returning national treasures to their home countries in his next film.

A furious Chan said that buying the two heads severed from a water fountain - part of a collection stolen from the Old Summer Palace in Beijing by British and French troops 150 years ago - was no different from stealing and that they should be returned to China.

'It has broken the hearts of the 1.3 billion people of China. All these national treasures should be returned to their home countries. If it was something from Cambodia, return it to Cambodia; if it was something from Egypt, return it to Egypt.'

The pieces - one of a rat and the other a rabbit - went under the hammer in Paris. They date to the early Qing dynasty, established in 1644, and sold for Euro15.7 million each on Wednesday to unidentified bidders

Chan said he had considered bidding for the heads if they were priced in the tens of million of Hong Kong dollars, and then returning them to the mainland. But now he said he would focus on telling stories about national treasures in a film to be made next year.

'In my previous film The Myth, one of my lines was that no one should rob national treasures from other countries and keep them, using the excuse of helping to preserve these treasures,' Chan said. 'Everybody in China clapped when they saw that in the theatre.

'My next film will be telling a story about finding national treasures. In future these fountainheads will not belong to anybody and they should all be returned to the Summer Palace.'