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China makes efforts to retrive stolen mummy Buddha

2015-03-26 10:31 CNTV Web Editor: Mo Hong'e
File photo taken on March 3, 2015 shows the Chinese Buddha statue at the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest, Hungary. (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi)

File photo taken on March 3, 2015 shows the Chinese Buddha statue at the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest, Hungary. (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi)

China is trying to retrieve a Buddhist relic that surfaced at an exhibition at the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest. The relic was withdrawn from showcase by its Dutch owner last Friday. It is believed to have been stolen from a temple in China. Meanwhile its owner released a statement on relic.

Huge controversy is building up over this thousand year old Buddhist relic. Its Dutch owner released a statement saying that the relic was withdrawn from the exhibition at the Hungarian Natural History Museum.

The statement also stated that it will no longer be used from exhibition purposes but made no mention of the disputed ownership of the relic.

Archaeologists and historians in Fujian Province put forward evidence to prove that the 1-thousand-year-old mummied relic was stolen from a temple in Yangchun Village in 1995.

Historians collected a large number of photographs, relics and historical records in the village, including papers that suggested the mummy was a former ancestor of the local clan.

"We made several comparisons between the publicized information of the statue in Budapest, and the historical records of the stolen statue in Fujian - It's a match. For example, Zhanggong Zushi the buddha is documented in the pedigree of Lin Family in Yangchun in the 11th century. The buddha was mummified after he died at the age of 37; Besides the identity, the cushion and kasaya on exhibit match our photo archive of the stolen statue, which were taken in 1989," said Zhang Yongping, director of Fujian Relics Authentication Center.

The relic was featured in the "Mummy World" exhibition in Budapest. The exhibition opened in October last year and was originally due to last until the 17th of May, but was pulled from the exhibition last Friday.

According to experts, there are currently no legal options for the retrival of the relic to China, as the current international treaties concerning the protection of relics do not apply to this particular situation. But experts still want to look further into the matter.

"What we need now are the full details of the statue shown in Hungary, including the size, the photos of front and back and some specific parts of its body," Zhang said.

With the help of the police, the local authorities will continue the investigation and search for more information, while reporting to the national cultural authorities in order to identify and trace the stolen relic, in compliance with legal procedures.


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