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[BKARTS] January 6, 2005: Stolen calligraphy recovered in Beijing

Stolen calligraphy recovered in Beijing
January 6, 2005

A stolen calligraphy album by ancient Chinese philosopher Zhu Xi has finally
been recovered and three people arrested on suspicion of theft, Beijing
police announced yesterday.

The album, which was set to go under the hammer for a base price of 3
million yuan (US$360,000) in December, disappeared as it was being shown at
the Asian Hotel a couple of days before the auction.

Local police did not immediately release news of the incident, but word got
out when its absence was noticed among the 1,880 lots, which included
curios, ancient writings and paintings. Known as "Master Zhu," Zhu was the
considered the most important person in Confucianism after Confucius and
Mencius in ancient China. His interpretations were considered orthodox
Confucian thinking during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (1279-1911).

The stolen work is a poem written by Zhu in 1182 to celebrate two of his
followers passing imperial civil examinations.

Yi Suhao, general manager of Zhongmao Shengjia International Auction Co Ltd,
said there are only two copies of the poem still in existence. The other is
in the Taipei Palace Museum collection.

"The album was in the possession of a collector in Hong Kong. He wants it to
go back to the mainland by auction," said Yi.

Liu Ruibin, head of the Dongcheng Branch of the Beijing Municipal Public
Security Bureau, said local police had questioned more than 100 people at
the hotel on the day it was stolen.

Beijinger Diao Chongjing was arrested after allegedly admitting he took the
work while guards were not looking.

On December 15, Diao and an accomplice allegedly hid the volume in a church
in downtown Beijing.

In total three are facing trial.

Source: China Daily

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