BEIJING - CHINA on Thursday condemned what it called the illegal auction in Paris of two bronze artefacts looted from a Chinese palace 150 years ago and warned Christie's auction house of unspecified consequences.
'The State Administration of Cultural Heritage resolutely opposes and condemns all auctions of artefacts illegally taken abroad. Christie's must take responsibility for the consequences created by this auction,' the agency said.
The statement posted on the agency's website came a day after Christie's auctioned off bronze rat and rabbit heads looted from the imperial Summer Palace in Beijing by British and French troops 150 years ago.
The bronzes, part of the personal art collection of late French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge, sold for 15.7 million euros (S$30.6 million) each to unidentified bidders.
The auction went ahead despite repeated protests by Beijing, which has demanded the return of the two pieces.
The cultural heritage agency said it had 'pressed for the withdrawal of these Summer Palace relics'.
'But Christie's took its own course and insisted on auctioning the relics looted from the Summer Palace in breach of the spirit of international pacts and the consensus on the return of such artefacts to their original countries.'
'The State Administration of Cultural Heritage does not recognise the illegal owners of the looted relics and will continue to utilise all... necessary channels to recover all relics stolen and illegally exported throughout history,' it said.
See related video here