Animal heads of Old Summer Palace relics to be on display in Nanjing
2017-09-05 11:27:00

An exhibition displaying four original relics looted by the Westerners from Beijing's Old Summer Palace or Yuan Ming Yuan in 1860s will be put up for show at an exhibition in Nanjing next month.

The four works are animal heads symbolizing the 12 animal signs of the Chinese zodiac, including pig, ox, monkey and tiger, which were originally water outlets, part of the fountain in the Old Summer Palace.

The bronze heads of animals were formerly placed in front of Haiyantang, an area in the Xiyang Lou of the Old Summer Palace, which included a water clock fountain consisting of 12 bronze Chinese zodiac statues.

Designed by French Jesuit missionaryGiuseppe Castiglione for the Qianlong Emperor, the statues would spout water to tell the time.

Exemplifying the exquisite craftsmanship of Imperial China, the bronze-cast heads of the stone statues were among the treasures looted during the destruction of the Old Summer Palace by British and French expeditionary forces in 1860 during the Second Opium War and were lost for over a century.

In recent years China is trying to re-collect the lost relics from across the world after the invaluable relics fell in the hands of collectors.

In 2000, Shanghai's Poly Art Museum bought the Ox, Monkey, and Tiger heads at great cost at Christie's and Sotheby's auctions. In 2003, Macao billionaire Stanley Ho bought the Pig head and donated it to the museum.

Source:ourjiangsu Editor:Cassie