China retrieves 68 smuggled cultural relics from the UK after 25 years
Updated 22:12, 18-Nov-2020

A total of 68 pieces of cultural relics have returned to China from Britain, the National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA) said at a press conference on Wednesday. 

The cultural relics, which were smuggled overseas, were retrieved through the joint efforts of the administration with the country's foreign affairs and customs authorities since January, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The cultural relics include glazed tricolor pottery from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), blue and white pottery from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), a stone horse from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and other treasures. 

Glazed tricolor pottery from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). /Xinhua

Glazed tricolor pottery from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). /Xinhua

The relics' textures include porcelain, pottery, stone tools, bronze ware, and the time spans from the Warring States Period (770BC-221BC) to the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912).

Guan Qiang, deputy head of the administration, said given their material and quality, some of the cultural items have significant historical, artistic and scientific value.

He said the return of the Chinese cultural relics is a successful example of cooperation between China and the UK in combating cultural relic smuggling under the framework of the 1970 Convention.

A stone horse from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). /Xinhua

A stone horse from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). /Xinhua

The 1970 Convention urges state parties to take measures to prohibit and prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) official website.

China joined the convention in 1989, and the UK joined in 2002.

The retrieved cultural relics are on exhibition on the NCHA 's official website.

(Cover image: Some of the 68 cultural relics that returned to China. /Xinhua)