Luo Shugang (right), Minister of Culture and Tourism, and Pansy Ho Chiu-king, daughter and representative of Macao-based tycoon and collector Stanley Ho Hung-sun, unveil a red bronze horse-head statue at the National Museum of China in Beijing on November 13.
Stanley Ho decided to donate the horse head statue to the National Cultural Heritage Administration on the same day to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the 20th anniversary of Macao’s return to China.
The statue, one of 12 decorative Chinese zodiac signs, was located in the former imperial resort of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Yuanmingyuan. Also known as the Old Summer Palace, Yuanmingyuan was built in 1707 in northwestern Beijing and often referred to as “the garden of gardens” for its lush landscapes and numerous temples, palaces and pavilions.
The 12 animal heads were looted by invading Anglo-French Alliance forces that rampaged through Yuanmingyuan and set it on fi re in 1860. As of now, seven of the 12 heads have been returned to China through various means.