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Decorative antique gateway heading home to Shanghai for Expo 2010

A 97-YEAR-OLD decorative gateway, which has appeared at three previous world expos, will return home to Shanghai, host city of the Expo 2010, a Chinese official said today.

The gateway headed home on a ship that left Stockholm in mid-June, said Song Haojie, deputy director of the Xuhui District Cultural Bureau in Shanghai.

The Tujiawan gateway, which is 5.8 meters high and 5.2 m wide, bears dragons, a mascot in Chinese culture, and lions on its four pillars.

Ten children from the Tujiawan Orphanage, founded by Western missionaries 150 years ago, carved the monumental gateway with teak wood in 1912 under the guidance of a foreign craftsman, according to Song.

The gateway joined the World Expo in San Francisco in 1915, in Chicago in 1933 and New York in 1939. Then it ended up in the world of collecting, where it moved among different owners.

In 1986, a Swedish architect set up a foundation for its restoration.

The Xuhui District Cultural Bureau and the foundation signed a transfer agreement on April 23. Song declined to give details about the deal.

The gateway will be displayed in the Tujiawan Museum, which will open when the expo starts.

The Expo Shanghai, to be held next May to October, is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors, including 5.5 million from abroad.


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