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China recovers lost marbles in Norway museum deal

Published on Feb 12, 2014 1:08 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - Seven white marble columns from a Chinese palace looted by foreign forces will soon be returned to Beijing by a Norwegian museum after a controversial property developer offered it a major donation, reports said on Wednesday.

The invasion and colonisation of parts of China during the 19th century are still regularly highlighted by Communist authorities and remain enduring issues in the country, symbolised most emotively by historical treasures Beijing says were looted when British and French forces ransacked sites such as the Old Summer Palace and the Forbidden City.

The columns are among 21 in the KODE Art Museums of Bergen, which houses one of the most extensive Chinese art collections in Europe. They were part of Beijing's Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, built in European style in the 18th century.

They will be returned to Peking University later this year and alumnus Huang Nubo, a real estate developer, will donate 10 million Norwegian krone (S$2 million) to the museum, according to the China Daily newspaper.

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