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双语阅读练习:法国皮诺家族捐赠圆明园流失鼠首兔首

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2013年04月28日 【我要咨询】 】 来源:清华在线

  Two imperial bronze sculptures that were looted from Beijing's Old Summer Palace will come home later this year, thanks to the donation of the French art-collecting Pinault family, China's top heritage authority announced on Friday afternoon.

  The State Administration of Cultural Heritage announced the news on its website after a meeting with the visiting Pinaults on Friday morning.

  The sculptures, of a rat and a rabbit head, were made for the zodiac fountain of Emperor Qianlong's Old Summer Palace, and looted when the palace was razed by invading French and British forces in 1860.

  The sculptures made news when their auction by French auction house Christie's in February 2009 aroused controversy worldwide.

  The statues' winning bid was more than 31 million euros ($40.3 million), but the deal collapsed when Chinese buyer Cai Mingchao refused to pay.

  The Pinault family — the majority shareholder of PPR, whose brands include Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Puma — bought the two sculptures after that.

  Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of PPR, promised the donation on behalf of the family, which also owns auction house Christie's, during a meeting with SACH officials on Friday.

  Earlier this month, Christie's was granted a license that will enable it to become the first international auction house to operate independently in China, which has overtaken the United States as the world's largest art and auction market.

  The SACH highly endorsed the donation, saying it was "in accordance with the spirit of international conventions" and "of friendliness to Chinese people", which will help push forward the "common international understanding that cultural relics should be returned to their country of origin".

  Song Xinchao, deputy director of SACH who met Pinault at Beijing's Park Hyatt Hotel on Friday morning, said China hopes to see the return of the sculptures by July and add them to the collection at the National Museum of China.

  To date, five of the 12 bronze animal fountainheads from the Old Summer Palace have been returned to China through purchases in auctions or donations by overseas Chinese collectors.

  Like other ancient civilizations, China saw many cultural relics taken overseas when the country was subjected to wars and occupation.

  According to the Chinese Cultural Relics Association, more than 10 million Chinese cultural relics were taken from the country from 1840 to 1949, a large number of which are now stored at major public museums in Europe and the US.

  The number of relics plundered from the Old Summer Palace alone is estimated at about 1.5 million, now housed in more than 2,000 museums in 47 countries.

  A majority of them are being showcased in the British Museum and the Fontainebleau Art Museum in France, experts said.

  China has been actively seeking the return of overseas relics during the past decade through purchases at international auctions, donations by private collectors or overseas Chinese, and increasingly through diplomatic means based on international conventions.

  "We're open to any channel for the return of cultural relics," Song said.

  【新闻快讯】

  昨日,法国皮诺家族在北京宣布,将向中方无偿捐赠流失海外的圆明园铜鼠首和兔首。这是圆明园十二生肖兽首被英法联军掠走后,首次由海外无偿捐赠的方式重返祖国。

  法方表示,将在九十月份完成两件圆明园兽首的回归,不过,中方希望能提前至七月份。算上此次回乡的鼠首和兔首,以及牛首、猴首、虎首、猪首和马首,共有7尊兽首回到国内。

  皮诺家族,即法国PPR集团是世界第三大奢侈品集团,该集团旗下的品牌更加耳熟能详,比如古驰(Gucci)、宝缇嘉(Bottega Veneta)等。佳士得拍卖也为其家族所有。

  对于此次捐赠活动,国家文物局给出了明确回复:中方对此举予以积极评价,认为这一意愿符合有关文化遗产保护国际公约的原则精神,是对中国人民的友好表示,也有利于更多中国流失境外文物的回归。

  双兽首回归的具体月份,仍未具体公布。国家文物局表示,文物回归的“所有渠道都是敞开的”。该局负责人表示,鼠首和兔首可能入藏中国国家博物馆。也有专家认为,铜兽首应当回到圆明园里收藏,但目前该遗址并没有标准的博物馆,不具备展示和保存功能。

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