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January 20, 2010

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Yuanmingyuan relics found in US museums

CHINESE experts have found some previously unknown lost relics belonging to Yuanmingyuan, or the Old Summer Palace, in the United States, palace sources have said.

Chen Mingjie, director of the palace's management office, said yesterday that the findings included a painting from the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

"We discovered the Old Summer Palace's seal in the painting, and that was how we knew where the painting comes from," Chen said.

Yuanmingyuan management launched a search for lost relics last October and decided to send research teams around the world to find and catalogue the artifacts.

Teams of experts have visited museums, libraries, and private collections in countries including the United States, Britain, France and Japan.

A team left for the US on November 29 and spent 18 days in nine museums in cities including Washington DC, New York and Boston.

Chen said the team also found items including snuff bottles, seals and pots from royal families of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and very possibly belonging to Yuanmingyuan.

Numerous relics went missing or were stolen from Yuanmingyuan when the palace was burned down by Anglo-French forces during the Second Opium War in 1860.


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