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More than 30 looted relics back in Tianjin
Published on: 2009-09-23
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More than 30 precious looted relics are now being displayed at a ‘private museum’ located in Gulou South Street in North China’s Tianjin.

The museum, purchased by Ms. Zang Xiuyun in 2004 when she chanced upon it, not only has china articles from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), but also bronzes of the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century - 771BC), which are rare even in state museums.

Other collections include furniture, drawing, and calligraphy once used or created by renowned persons.

Ms. Zang, born into a middle class family in the 1960th, took to antique collectiing over 20 years ago under the influence of her parents. She has spent most of her savings in purchasing and collecting precious Chinese antiques from other nations. She feels antique collectors should make every effort to bring the antiques, which were looted abroad by the foreigner invaders during the Second World War, back to their homeland.

All of the collections have been stored in the museum, where once lived a princess during the Qing dynasty. The Princess Palace is a typical well-preserved siheyuan, originally built for Princess Heshuo, who, under the help of the Emperor Guang Xu, escaped an engagement with the son of Ronglu, an army General. Princess Heshuo was originally named Yu Deling. Her father Yu Geng was a Chinese ambassador in France, and her mother was French. 

A siheyuan is a historical type of residence that was commonly found throughout China, most famously in Beijing. The name literally means a courtyard surrounded by four buildings. In English, siheyuan are sometimes referred to as Chinese quadrangles.

Throughout Chinese history, the siheyuan composition was the basic pattern used for residences, palaces, temples, monasteries, family, businesses and government offices. In ancient times, a spacious siheyuan would be occupied by a single, usually large and extended family, signifying wealth and prosperity. Today, however, most remaining siheyuan are used as mass housing complexes, and suffer from a lack of modern amenities.

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