Museum seeks fresh look at relics

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 2011, 12:00am


The Southern Song Dynasty Guan Kiln Museum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, said yesterday it would seek official approval for a re-evaluation of some porcelain relics it houses, after one of its star relics, a porcelain royal water vase from the Tang dynasty, was dismissed as a forgery.

In a China Central Television expose that aired on Saturday, Palace Museum porcelain specialist Yang Jingrong said the vase, ostensibly from the Changsha Kiln, was a replica made in the late 1990s, as no such item had ever been excavated from the site of the kiln in Changsha, Hunan province.

Yang also called into question the proportions of the vase, saying its handle would hardly be able to withstand the weight of the liquid inside. The CCTV investigation also questioned the authenticity of many items at the Hangzhou museum, saying they had not gone through proper evaluation.

The expose has once again called into question the credibility of mainland museums and relic specialists.

The Hangzhou museum, a state-run facility specialising in porcelain relics, was set up to promote Hangzhou as an ancient capital of the Southern Song dynasty.

In a written reply yesterday to questions from the South China Morning Post, the museum defended its handling of items donated by Ding Yangzhen, an entrepreneur turned collector from Huaibei, Anhui province.

The museum said the vase was among 600 items Ding donated in 2005. Four porcelain specialists spent three days checking them for authenticity, and another group of specialists was invited to check the authenticity of some of the items, it said.

'We believe the question raised in the media report was the opinion of an individual specialist, and to show our due respect, we will ask for regulators' permission to have the items re-evaluated,' the museum said.