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Horse-head statue from Old Summer Palace gets back to Beijing

Date: 2019.11.14 Author: Celia Tang

On November 13th, a red bronze horse-head statue was brought back and handed over to the National Cultural Heritage Administration in Beijing. The red bronze horse-head statue was placed in the National Museum of China and also joined a temporary exhibition on cultural relics.


The returned horse-head red bronze statue was one of 12 decorative taps - in the form of 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs - which were set for a foundation in the Old Summer Palace. These animal-head taps took turns to spray water during different hours within a day. It was designed by Italian Jesuit artist Giuseppe Castiglione, who served the royal court of the Qing Dynasty. The statue is the seventh among the 12 articles from the Old Summer Palace fountain that has returned to Beijing.


According to Liu Yuzhu, the director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, the returns of the relic holds the public's collective emotion. It will also bring people’s attention to better preserve cultural heritage of our country.


Old Summer Palace is also named Yuanmingyuan. It was built in 1707 and was the former imperial resort of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was referred to as "the garden of gardens" for its lush landscapes and numerous temples, palaces and pavilions. The garden became ruins later due to the invading Anglo-French Alliance Forces.