Chinese short video reflects call for return of artifacts
Published: Sep 04, 2023 11:01 PM
Illustration:Liu Xiangya/Global Times

Illustration:Liu Xiangya/Global Times

A recent short video series Escape from the British Museum, which tells the story of how a Chinese cultural relic escapes from the British Museum and finds its way back to China, has taken the Chinese internet with its touching narrative and creative storytelling.

Directed by two Chinese vloggers, the three-episode series, spanning just under 10 minutes each, revolves around the personification of a Chinese jade teapot, which escapes from the British Museum and embarks on a hard journey to reunite with her family in China.

The female vlogger who plays the role of the jade teapot comes across a Chinese journalist in London whom she believes to be her long-lost family and asks him to take her back home.

The lines in the series, such as "Family, I have been lost for a long time," and "As long as I'm with family, I'm safe," have resonated deeply with viewers. The face of the "jade teapot" is dirty, and she is surprised that the journalist's residence "only holds two people in such a large cabinet," which is interpreted by netizens as the casual attitude of the British Museum toward Chinese cultural relics, as many of them are crammed into one cabinet for exhibition.

Since its debut, the series has been circulating on Chinese social media platforms, with related hashtags trending on China's Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo. The hashtag #EscapefromTheBritishMuseum had garnered over 310 million views and more than 63,000 comments on Sina Weibo as of press time on Monday night. 

Many netizens expressed their comments about the series. 

"We can see the achievements of Chinese culture from these lost relics. We hope to see more works of this kind," said one Sina Weibo user.

The series was inspired by an online comment made earlier this year, suggesting a story about Chinese relics in the British Museum coming to life and returning to China. When one of the vloggers saw the comment, she replied with such words, "Wait for me." Then the duo spent months researching, preparing, and traveling to the UK to bring this story to life.

The vloggers wrote in a post that this work is a promise, a testament to the passion of independent content creators, a result of the agreement among young individuals, a display of unwavering dedication regardless of costs. And above all, it embodies the determination within Chinese to prove themselves. Just as the vloggers have expressed, they want their voices to be heard through this video in this fast-paced information age.

In this era, technology and platforms have provided everyone with opportunities for creation and expression. This series proves that, regardless of the medium, investment, or length, genuine passion and dedication are the keys to success.

It also demonstrates that the content of short videos can be more than just humorous; it can be profoundly inspiring. The series not only entertains but also touches on a powerful message - the importance of cultural heritage and the longing for repatriation.

In August, some 2,000 artifacts kept by the British Museum were reported to have been stolen, which includes gold jewelry, gems and glass items, some of which date back some 3,500 years. This scandal has raised questions in many countries about the security and management of the British Museum. Several countries like Nigeria, Greece and Egypt have once again reiterated their call for the return of their cultural treasures from the museum. 

The popularity of this short series also reflects Chinese people's yearning for the repatriation of the Chines cultural relics. Currently, the museum has a total of 23,000 Chinese relics, which span from the Neolithic age to the present day and include paintings, prints, jades and ceramics.

The series, with the theme of lost relics returning home, has struck a chord in people's hearts and reflects the deep patriotic sentiments. It also demonstrates the enthusiasm of young people for history and traditional culture, their emphasis on cultural inheritance and preservation, and the fervent hope of the Chinese people for the return of their lost cultural relics.