The Chinese capital of Beijing has received three historical artefacts that had been illegally exported from Australia.
In Canberra, Chinese authorities were presented with a dinosaur fossil that is older than 100 million years as well as two sculptures that date back to the Tang Dynasty.
The materials were taken into custody by border patrol agents who were stationed in Australia and then handed over to the appropriate authorities for further investigation.
The handover takes place just a few days before the visit to Beijing that will be made by the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, the following month.
On Wednesday, Minister for the Arts Tony Burke stated that “today we’ve witnessed how two nations can work effectively together to return cultural property to its rightful home.” “Today we’ve witnessed how two nations can work effectively together to return cultural property to its rightful home,” he said. “Whether it’s items of cultural significance Australia holds or items overseas that belong to us – they should be returned.”
These are the items:
A fossil of a hyphalosaurus, a species of long-necked reptile that existed in northern and eastern China between the ages of 120 and 133 million years ago
Figurine from the Tang Dynasty that dates between 618 and 907 CE and depicts a rider on horseback playing a wind instrument. These statues were deposited in tombs to ensure the deceased had a smooth passage into the afterlife.
A gilded bronze statue of the Buddhist deity Avalokitesvara that dates to the Tang Dynasty and was most likely used as an altar piece.
In response to questions from the media, a spokeswoman for the Australian government stated that the fossil was brought into the country in the year 2020, while the Tang Dynasty artifacts were brought in the year after that.
Before arriving in Australia, the commodities had been unlawfully shipped from China to a number of different countries in the region. According to the spokesperson, because there was no evidence that the Australian importers were aware that the items had been smuggled out of China, nobody was charged for the illegal activity.
During the handover ceremony, China received two further artifacts that dated back to the Ming and Qing eras from the National Gallery of Australia in Australia as well as a private collector.
According to the news agency Xinhua, China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, gave a speech during the ceremony in which he conveyed his “heartfelt gratitude” to the people of Australia.
It was stated by Chinese state media that Australia & China have been working closely together over the past three years to enable the return of cultural relics, art artifacts, and fossils that were unlawfully smuggled into either country.
Following a thorough inquiry that spanned ten years, the national gallery of Australia determined that three bronze sculptures from the 9th and 10th centuries had been stolen and returned them to Cambodia in August.
In March, it was also revealed that four indigenous spears that had been confiscated by the British explorer Captain James Cook & his landing party when they arrived in Australia in 1770 would be restored to the people who had traditionally owned them.
In the most recent few months, China’s demands for the repatriation of historical artifacts that were taken from them, including pieces that are currently in the possession of the British Museum, have become increasingly vociferous.