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YSL and Chinese Antiquities: Buyer Revealed

The mystery buyer for the two bronze heads has been revealed (Robert J. Saiget, "Chinese bidder says will not pay for relics bought at Paris auction", AFP March 2, 2009).
Cai Mingchao, a well-known antique collector, identified himself as the mystery bidder in a statement released in Beijing by the National Treasures Fund, which is dedicated to retrieving Chinese relics from abroad.

"I believe that any Chinese person would stand up at this time... I am making an effort to fulfill my own responsibilities," Cai said.

"But I must stress that this money I cannot pay."

UPDATE
The BBC has (5.56 GMT) issued a report with a video clip of the interview ("China relics buyer refuses to pay").

See also BBC video showing the other heads.

Comments

DR.KWAME OPOKU said…
I am afraid there may be more similar actions, not limited to auctions, which may probably be in the making as more governments in Asia and Africa realize that museums, art dealers, and others in the West do not take seriously the claims for the restitution of stolen/looted cultural artefacts. Above all, the arrogance of many Western museum directors and dealers is not likely to pacify those who feel that military might has been employed to deprive them of important elements of their culture. Nevertheless, the present situation as regards restitution of stolen/looted cultural objects needs not lead to disruption of settled methods of transfer of ownership or possession if those concerned and their governments would show some understanding for the position and feelings of non-Western countries. So far as I can tell, there is not much indication that there will soon be a change in the condescending attitude of the West. On the contrary, the recent lecture by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, ( www.modernghana.) and the latest article from James Cuno, Director, Art Institute of Chicago,(www.museum-security) clearly demonstrate that Western museums, or leading museum directors, are not trying to reach a position on restitution of stolen/looted cultural objects which will take into account the needs and feelings of others. They are rather desperately seeking argumentation which will bolster their well-known positions that have been generally disputed.

When non-Western governments, their lawyers and their economists turn their attention to these issues, there will be many interesting ways they can affect the unrestricted transfer and possession of cultural objects. If this is what some are aiming at, they are well on the way. The time will surely come when one may wonder whether the rigid and disdainful attitude is a positive contribution to harmonious international relations.

Kwame Opoku.

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