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Looted relic up for sale

ANOTHER heritage relic looted from China is to go on auction in Paris, according to yesterday's Wenhui Daily.

The nephrite Qianlong (1736-1795) era seal is part of a collection of antiques belonging to the French General de Vassoigne which the Beaussant Lefevre is to auction in Paris tomorrow.

It is believed to have been looted from China's Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace, by Anglo-French forces during the Second Opium War in 1860. The general led the French in the attack.

According to the auction house's Website, the seal is made from jade and has two dragons entwined on a base inscribed with the Chinese characters "jiu zhou qing an zhi bao" ("peace and tranquility in the nation").

It is thought it may attract bids of up to 300,000 euros (US$395,000).

Earlier this year, Christie's auction of two looted Chinese relics from Yuanmingyuan sparked an outcry in China.

China failed to dissuade Christie's from auctioning the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) bronze rabbit and rat sculptures.

Cai Mingchao, a Chinese collector, won the auction with a bid of 31.49 million euros but later said he would not pay because the relics might not be able to enter China.


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