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Smuggled terracotta figurines returned
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2006-12-27 13:58

A total of 31 terracotta figurines and chimes dating back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-25 AD) have been returned to Xi'an, an ancient Chinese capital.

The smuggled items were earlier bought by Chinese American Fan Shixing, and 14 other Chinese mainly in the United States and Canada, said Guo Xianceng, deputy director of the Shaanxi Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage Protection.

Thirteen colored and nine black figurines were 50 to 60 cm high, said Wang Baoping, deputy chief of the exhibition hall featuring excavated items from the mausoleum of Liu Qi, an emperor in the Western Han Dynasty.

"Some of the figurines originally had silk clothes, but these perished over the past 2,000 years. "

Wang said the clothes represented a development from the pottery clothing on the terracotta warriors in the previous Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC).

Twelve of the figurines had real coats, and pottery skirts, which was very rare in the Western Han Dynasty, Wang added.

He said the relics were gifted to the exhibition hall as they were similar to the items excavated from the Hanjingdi Mausoleum.

Tomb robbing was very serious in Xi'an and many relics excavated from mausoleums of ancient emperors had been smuggled out of China.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), around 1.67 million relics in 200 museums of 47 countries came from China.

Experts claim most of the relics were plundered or smuggled out of China in the past 150 years.

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