Swiss authorities hand over 5 lost cultural relics to China
Published: Aug 25, 2023 02:36 PM
China and Switzerland Photo: VCG

China and Switzerland Photo: VCG

Swiss cultural authorities returned five lost cultural relics to China on Thursday, the second time that Switzerland has returned cultural property to China since December 2014, witnessing another successful practice in the field of cultural heritage protection between the two countries, according to China's National Cultural Heritage Administration.

China's Ambassador to Switzerland Wang Shiting attended the ceremony for the return of Chinese lost cultural relics held by the Federal Office of Culture of Swiss on Thursday. And a return agreement between China and Switzerland was signed on the day.

The returned cultural relics include four pieces of chinaware and one coin, with certain historical and artistic values. The cultural relics were confiscated in four criminal proceedings by the Swiss authorities.

The return of the cultural relics fully reflects the common willingness of the two countries to strengthen cooperation in the protection of cultural heritage, which has played a positive role in enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between people from the two sides, Wang said at a speech delivered at the ceremony.

The event is also of model significance in combating smuggling of cultural relics, cultural relics protection and expanding inter-governmental cooperation globally, noted Wang. Wang also said China is ready to carry out broader cooperation with Switzerland in areas including the recovery and return of cultural relics, research on ancient civilizations, archaeology, restoration of ancient monuments and museums exchanges.

Carine Bachmann, director of the Federal Office of Culture said that Switzerland and China have maintained close relations in various fields since 1950. The return of cultural relics is a new achievement following the signing of a bilateral agreement in 2013 on the illicit import and export and repatriation of cultural property, which also reflects the efforts of the two countries to cooperate in combating illicit trafficking in cultural property, said Bachmann.

Switzerland is honored to return these five cultural relics to their countries of origin, Bachmann noted.

Since December 2022, China's National Cultural Heritage Administration has worked closely with the Chinese Embassy in Switzerland and successfully facilitated the return of the cultural relics with the cooperation of the Swiss authorities, said the administration.

In December 2014, Switzerland returned a piece of pottery figure of the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220) to China.

The move highlighted the importance of international cooperation through the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property.

China has made efforts in advancing the high-quality development of its cultural relics and heritage. At present, 18 major archaeological initiatives are underway in China, and 268 independent projects have been successfully launched, the National Cultural Heritage Administration told a press conference in July.

Global Times