China To Scour Museums for Looted Art

Artifact team will hunt for Imperial Gardens booty
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2009 3:40 AM CDT
France's Louvre museum will be one of hundreds to be trageted by China artifact team.   (©mariosp)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – China is about to send teams of artifact hunters to the world's top museums to track down looted art treasures. They'll be on the lookout for art from the splendid Imperial Gardens of Yuan Ming Yuan, more commonly known as the Old Summer Palace, which was used by Chinese emperors in the 18th and 19th centuries. British and French armies sacked the palace complex outside the walls of Beijing in 1860 then picked through what was left in 1900.

Chinese experts believe some 1.5 million relics are housed in more than 2000 museums in 47 nations. Officials hope to recover two works in France, but primarily plan simply to locate and document works. However, "we do hope some previously unknown relics might surface and some might be returned to our country during our investigation," said Chen Mingjie, the director of Yuan Ming Yuan.