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The original figures in a drawing before the looting with all 12 head figures
Replicas of the 12 heads

The Haiyantang (Chinese: 海晏堂; pinyin: Hǎiyàntáng) was an area in the Xiyang Lou (Western style mansions) of the Old Summer Palace, which included a water clock fountain consisting of 12 bronze Chinese zodiac statues. Supposedly designed by Giuseppe Castiglione for the Qianlong Emperor, the statues would spout water to tell the time.[1][2]

The bronze-cast heads of the stone statues were among the treasures looted during the destruction of the Old Summer Palace by British and French expeditionary forces in 1860 during the Second Opium War.[3] Since then, they have been among the most visible examples of attempts to repatriate Chinese art and cultural artifacts.

Current status

Animal Year recovered Current location Cost Notes
Rat 2013 National Museum of China[4] Donated by François Pinault in a ceremony on June 28, 2013[4]
Ox 2000 Poly Art Museum, Beijing USD $78.98 million
Tiger 2000 Poly Art Museum, Beijing USD $35.98 million
Rabbit 2013 National Museum of China[4] Donated by François Pinault in a ceremony on June 28, 2013[4]
Dragon - - - -
Snake - - - -
Horse 2009 Capital Museum[5] USD $8.9 million
Goat - - - -
Monkey 2000 Poly Art Museum, Beijing USD $1.03 million
Rooster - - - -
Dog - - - -
Pig 2003 Poly Art Museum, Beijing[5] USD $0.77 million

See also


  1. ^ CSmonitor.com. "CSmonitor.com." China protests Christie's auction in Paris of relics. Retrieved on 2009-02-20.
  2. ^ BBC News: Chinese zodiac statues' origins
  3. ^ Wtop.com. "Wtop.com." French judges allows auction of Chinese artifacts. Retrieved on 2009-02-20.
  4. ^ a b c d "Looted Bronzes Return To China: Animal Heads Were Taken From Beijing Palace In 1860". Huffington Post. June 28, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Li, Lillian (2012). "Relics & Controversy: The Controversy Surrounding the 12 Zodiac Animal Heads". The Garden of Perfect Brightness III: Destruction, Looting, and Memory (1860-Present). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 

External links

  • International Herald Tribute, Auction Houses Add Insult to Injury, May 6, 2000
  • Press Release: Bronze animals heads from Summer Palace go on display, Hong Kong, Heritage Museum Friday, January 9, 2004
  • Macao casino mogul Stanley Ho buys stolen Chinese relic for US$8.9 million 21 September, 2007
  • BBC report of February 2009 auction {rat & rabbit}
  • BBC report/photographs of 4 of 5 bronze heads recovered prior to 2009 auction {OX, Tiger. Monkey, Pig}
  • report/photograph of the Haiyantang Horse head statute

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