Ming & Qing Dynasty Furniture Auction in Nanjing 1-12-2008 by Mei Wu
My brother, Mr. Zhonghua Wu participated in this auction as a collector. He said that this is one of the biggest auctions in China
history. One of furniture, a Zitan Table carved with a thousand of lions was successfully auctioned at 9,200,000 RMB Yuan.
There were more than 100 pieces of fine Ming & Qing furniture in Suzhou style of craftsmanship in this auction. There are different
kinds of wood, such as Huanghuali, Zitan, Jumu, Hongmu, Nanmu etc.
China tightens definition of "cultural relics"; bans exports of pre-1949 historical items, from
Zaobao Newspaper 9-27-2007
Foreign tourists who go to China to seek items of historical significance must beware! The Chinese government has decided to
tighten the definition for "cultural relics" such that items pre-dating liberation in 1949 are now banned from being exported. The
regulations had earlier banned exports of items made before 1911.
New Export Policy on Chinese Culture Relics:
State Administrative Regulation on Assessment of Chinese Culture Relics for Entering and Leaving China issued 7-13-2007
State Assessment Standard of Chinese Culture Relics for Export issued on 6-5-2007
China to Ban Export of Cultural Relics Older Than 1911, from Xinhua Newspaper Wednesday 5-30-2007
The Chinese government is to ban individuals taking cultural relics predating 1911 out of the country, amid efforts to strengthen the
protection of cultural heritage, a senior cultural heritage official said on Tuesday.
"Previous regulations stipulated that cultural relics predating 1795 could not be taken across the border by individuals. However,
the base line is going to be adjusted to 1911," said Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH).
"The end of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), China's last feudal society, is a convenient social mark for Chinese archaeologists," Li
Peisong, vice director of the SACH's Museum Department, told Xinhua.
The year 1911 was almost 100 years ago, which accorded with international practice that defines cultural relics protection based on
centennial marks, Li said, noting the smuggling of China's cultural relics abroad had long been serious.
Shan said the new regulation, which banned more cultural relics from being taken out of the country, would be promulgated before
the end of this year.
It also stipulates that important cultural relics produced before 1949 and major ethnic minority relics before 1966 could not be
removed, except those taking part in overseas exhibitions, Shan said.
Ethnic minority relics, especially those with distinct ethnic features, enjoyed great international popularity, said Tala, director of the
Institute of Cultural and Historical Relics and Archeology of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
"Traditional Mongolian women's headgear decorated with red coral, turquoise, pearl and precious metals, are treasures of the
Mongolian ethnic group and have long been favored by overseas collectors. Some have been lost overseas due to the lack of legal
protection," said Tala, himself of Mongolian ethnic origin.
Tala said headgear, saddles and other costumes could be sold to affluent private collectors for millions of yuan on the global
market because the materials from which they were made were hard to find, especially after 1966.
He said Mongolian cultural relics could not be easily identified as herders still used traditional silver bowls at home, some of which
were very old and are easily bought and smuggled by private collectors.
Laws and regulations say the removal of all cultural relics should first be approved by the State Council, or China's cabinet, and
they must go through the port designated by the government and declared to Customs.
Chinese experts estimated that more than 10 million Chinese cultural relics have been lost overseas.
Should the restrictions on the sale of Chinese antiquities be passed, it will very likely affect many classes of objects, including
furniture, making it both less accessible and potentially driving up the prices of those pieces that are currently in the United States!!!
In February, 2005, the US Department of State held one public hearing on this matter. Marc Wilson, CEO of Kansas City's Nelson-
Atkins Museum, along with his peers from museums in San Francisco, Chicago, and Cleveland, spoke at the hearing to express
concern about the far reaching and negative impact expected if the embargo were approved as requested.
Earlier this year, Senator Christopher S. Bond, Republican of Missouri, along with Charles E Schumer, Democrat of New York, and
Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, relayed concerns to the State Department about the transparency of its decision-making
process and challenged the legal underpinnings of China's request. Senator Bond's office says the State Department will delay
making a decision until at least early next year.
Christie's and Sothebys, international art auction houses, reflect the nature of this dynamically shifting market. Chinese art and
antiques remain highly desirable in the international market and some believe the tide is shifting back to the East. Competitive
bidding has caused prices to soar far above their pre-sale estimates in recent years as Asian buyers acquire pieces in the West.
The significance of fine Chinese antique furniture may become more apparent if the United States agrees to the embargo. “Should
the restrictions on the sale of Chinese antiquities be passed, it will very likely affect many classes of objects, including furniture,
making it both less accessible and potentially driving up the prices of those pieces that are currently in the United States,” says Lark
Mason, owner and founder of iGavel.com. He lectures and advises museums and collectors internationally, and has published
numerous articles and books on Chinese furniture.
According to the Chinese Culture Relics Society, most of the cultural relics were stolen and smuggled out of China before the
founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
The lost treasures include paintings, calligraphy, bronzeware, porcelain, oracle bone inscriptions and ancient books and records.
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