Macao gaming tycoon Stanley Ho has bought a rare bronze horse head plundered by British and French troops in the 19th century for HKD69.1 million (USD8.84 million) and donated it to the motherland last Thursday (Sep 20).

Bronze horse head from Old Summer Palace, China Stanley Ho and bronze horse head
The bronze horse head and Mr Stanley Ho (Image courtesy of Xinhuanet)

The sale set a record in the trade of Chinese sculptures from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Sotheby’s Hong Kong said in a news release.

The deal stopped the national treasure looted from the Yuanmingyuan (the Old Summer Palace) being auctioned at Sotheby’s autumn auction in October.

“We do not agree with cultural relics which were smuggled, stolen, or looted in wars being auctioned,” Song Xinchao, director of museums department at the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, told a press conference on Thursday in Beijing.

He thanked Ho for his “patriotic act” and said the administration welcomes donations of cultural relics from abroad.

“I feel honored to have played a role in saving lost Chinese cultural relics from overseas,” Ho, 85, said in a statement.

Ho was ranked 104th on Forbes’ list of billionaires this year, with $7 billion in personal wealth. [Crienglish]


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