Monday, 16 March 2009

The Chinese Way

China had tried to dissuade Christie's from auctioning the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) bronze rabbit and rat heads sculptures that were part of the art collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. China argued that these sculptures, which were looted from the Summer Palace by Anglo-French allied forces during the Second Opium War in 1860, belong to China.

But the Chinese objection was rejected by the French court. However, Pierre Bergé offered to give back the sculptures to China when China frees Tibet ...

As everybody knows by now: The two relics were auctioned on February 25 for 14 mio. Euro (almost 20 mio USD) EACH (!) to an anonymous telephone bidder in Christie's sale of the collection in Paris.

And, surprise, surprise, the winning bidder is a Chinese man, Mr.Cai Minchao, who has no intention paying for the treasures looted from Beijing.

I thought it is a fun story to demonstrate the Chinese way of making business or politics. Smart and tricky. Beware!

Related Post: What you need to know when doing business with Chinese


Monkey Girl said...

I smirked at this article when I read it last week. Maybe now Christie's will do the right thing and return the relics to China.

chicanohek said...

funny thing is that those relics were crafted by European artist who were commission by the Chinese to make a fountain look more "European". Who made them? Europeans. Who paid for them? Chinese. Who took them as spoils of war? Europeans. Who currently owns them? you guess it, advantage Euros.


Lara Dunston said...

Oh, I love it! Great stuff!

But I'm all for countries such as the UK, France, and Germany returning relics to Greece, Egypt, Iran, and so on. They are so good at producing replicas these days - they can keep the replicas in their museums and return the originals to the countries they stole them from.


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