Giving hands save cultural treasures for posterity

( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-08-19 08:37:54

Giving hands save cultural treasures for posterity

The new series is about China's donated relics.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Owning valuable antiques does not necessarily mean a person is set to make a fortune. In fact, having such a collection can represent a hefty historical burden.

Since the founding of New China in 1949, more than 400,000 cultural relics have been donated to public museums around the country, according to a series of books published by Beijing Publishing Group last week.

The first eight volumes of Highlights of New China's Donated Cultural Relics give an introduction to important pieces that have been donated by several celebrated Chinese collectors and artists, including Zhang Boju, Xu Beihong and Zheng Zhenduo. The book also details the background to these historic pieces.

The series covers 14 major museums around China, including the Palace Museum (also known as the Forbidden City), the National Museum of China and the Nanjing Museum in the capital of Jiangsu province.

"The donations come from across the social strata and are important for the museums' collections, which rely on archaeological discoveries," says Xie Chensheng, chief editor of the books. "They also expand the variety and scale of the Chinese museum industry."

Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum and head of the China Cultural Relics Academy, says donated cultural relics make up more than 60 percent of collections in some Chinese museums. His museum has received donations of about 30,000 pieces from 700 people over the past 60 years.

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