HK artefacts stolen from Forbidden City

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 May, 2011, 12:00am


An unspecified number of artefacts owned by a private Hong Kong collection were stolen during an exhibition in the Forbidden City.

In its official microblog, the Palace Museum of the Forbidden City confirmed that the missing artefacts were part of the collection of Hong Kong's Liangyi Museum, a private collection, which was co-organising the exhibition.

The Palace Museum said the 20th century artefacts were stolen on Sunday and police were investigating, China Central Television reported.

A Beijing Public Security Bureau spokesman confirmed yesterday that it had received a report on Monday that some modern handicrafts in the exhibition were missing and they were investigating.

The police said the lost artefacts were owned by a Hong Kong private museum, but would not provide more details. It is not known how many artefacts went missing, nor how they were stolen.

Staff members at the Palace Museum were not available for comment yesterday, and the phone at the Liangyi Museum went unanswered.

The exhibition at the Palace Museum, Contrast and harmony: selected vanity cases and Chinese furniture of Liangyi Museum, has been open to visitors to the Forbidden City from April 29, and was scheduled to end on June 27.

The exhibition featured 130 artefacts including 19 pieces or sets of century-old Chinese-style furniture made of yellow rosewood or padauk, as well as 111 Western powder cases and handbags.

Rosewood furniture has been increasingly in demand from some mainlanders in recent years. A set of rosewood sofa and chairs can cost around 150,000 yuan (HK$179,000) and 2 million yuan, depending on the material used and the level of craftsmanship, the China Daily said early this year.

The market peaked around 2007, but prices nosedived in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The report said prices of certain types of rosewood had since resurged to their 2007 levels, but analysts said this time it was not a speculator's market.

Sitting on a fortune

Rosewood furniture has been increasingly sought after by mainlanders

A collectible set of rosewood sofa and chairs can cost this much, in yuan, on the market: 2m