Private museum fakes its exhibits

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-5-21 23:23:01

Nearly a third of a private museum's 8,000 exhibits are fake - so far - as government assessors rummage their way through the collection in the city of Tieling, Northeast China's Liaoning Province.

Police shut down the Lucheng Museum in January on suspicion of fraud, the People's Daily reported on Wednesday.

The top piece in the collection - an early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) sword reportedly worth 120 million yuan ($19.2 million) -- was also confirmed as counterfeit.

Founded in 2009, the Lucheng Museum was hailed as the first museum in Xifeng county.

So far, 30 percent of museum owner Cheng Hong's collection has been identified as hooey.

Xifeng culture bureau approved the museum's registration as its three members of staff boast no appraisal expertise or appraisal funding.

"Experts will only be sent for appraisal on major projects," said Gao Lijun, an official at the Liaoning department of culture.

Only collections of historical value are appraised, he said.

Founded in 2007, the Jibaozhai Museum and "patriotic education center" in the city of Jizhou, about 241 kilometers south of Beijing in North China's Hebei Province, was shut down in July 2013 amid Internet ridicule when nearly all of its artifacts were alleged to be forgeries.

Exhibits at the museum in the village of Erpu included a vase with contemporary cartoon characters and artifacts allegedly from 2,700 BC that had modern simplified Chinese characters.

Hebei culture bureau previously told the Global Times that Jibaozhai was unqualified to be a museum and had not even registered for approval.

The number of private museums in China reached 811 by the end of 2013, 164 more than 2012, while the number of public museums was 3,354, according to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH).

More than half of private museums had presented inadequate materials for registration and 5.7 percent did not have a registered legal person, according to a report by the Chinese Museums Association in April.

A SACH museum department official told the newspaper that problems including poor management and questionable authenticity are rife among private museums.

Private museums focus on exhibition and collection, Chen Lusheng, deputy head of the National Museum of China, told the newspaper, but fall behind State-supported museums in education and scientific research.

A museum regulation is expected to be issued this year.

Newspaper headline: Assessors identify almost one-third of 8,000 as counterfeit

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