The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

China Fights Back

An interesting development in the perennial repatriation debate.  A self-declared Chinese patriot, Cai Mingchao, who successfully bid for a pair of Chinese zodiac bronzes at auction last week, has confirmed that he has no intention of paying for them, in an act of 'sabotage' which is intended to draw attention to looted objects.

See here, here and here for various perspectives on the story.

The bronzes, depicting a rabbit and and a rat, formerly in the collection of Yves St Laurent, were, apparently, looted from the Summer Palace by British and French troops in 1860.  It's worth bearing in mind here, that these were, by no means, the only objects removed, under rather dubious circumstances, from China by Europeans during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Indeed, the famous lacquered throne that has pride of place in the Victoria and Albert Museum's T.T. Tsui Gallery, was itself taken from the Nan Haizi (Southern Ponds hunting park, south of Beijing) by Russian troops in the aftermath of the Boxer Uprising (1900-01), before being purchased, legitimately, by the museum from the dealer Spink & Son in 1922.

If you're interested in the looted imperial objects from China you can do worse than have a look at James Hevia's writings on the subject.

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