Chinese villagers write to Dutch PM for return of mummified buddha

 

 

 

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FUZHOU  |   2015-03-29 21:29:21

 

Chinese villagers

write to Dutch PM

for return of mummified buddha

 

By Zhong Qun and Liu Yang

 

 

 

Photos - http://haixi.cnfol.com/haixishehui/20150326/20412777.shtml

 

 

Hundreds of villagers in a southeast China county have written a letter to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, hoping for the return of a 1,000-year-old mummified buddha believed to be stolen from their village in 1995.

The statue, which contains a mummified monk, was on a “Mummy World” exhibition at the Hungarian Natural History Museum that opened in October last year and was originally scheduled to be on display until May 17, but was pulled from the exhibition last week following allegations that it was stolen from a village in southeast China’s Fujian Province.

The letter, jointly written by the local residents of Datian County in Fujian Province and overseas Chinese associations, has been handed to European Chinese societies and is expected to be delivered to the Netherlands via the Chinese embassy there.

“We believe that the Buddha is the one that we have been searching for in the past 20 years, and we are looking forward to its return,” read the letter, in both Chinese and English.

Fujian’s Cultural Relics Bureau said last week that judging from research and media reports, experts have confirmed that the statue was a relic stolen from Yangchun Village in 1995.

“[The Buddha] is our God and we have faith in him for hundreds of years. He has become an important part of our life, and we hope that it will be returned soon,” read the letter.

The Dutch private collector who is in possession of the statue was quoted by Dutch daily NRC on Thursday that he is willing to give it back to the Chinese village if it is proved to be stolen from there.

According to Yangchun archives, the Buddha, named Zhanggong Zushi, was a local man who became a monk in his 20s and won fame for helping people treat disease and spread Buddhist belief. When he died at the age of 37, his body was mummified and local people made a statue with the mummy inside at around the time in China’s Song Dynasty (960-1279). The statue has been worshipped in the village temple ever since.

In the temple, local people still preserve the statue’s hat and clothes and other affiliated relics.

 

 

 

 

 

A villager shows the crown of the Buddha statue with a mummified monk inside before it was

stolen at Yangchun Village of Datian County, southeast China’s Fujian Province, on March 24,

2015. Powerful evidences from China have all pointed to the strong possibility that a 1,000-year-

old Buddha statue with a mummified monk inside, which is now in possession of a Dutch private

collector, was stolen from China’s Fujian Province. Residents of Yangchun Village are gathering

more evidences and look forward to seeing the statue’s return. The Buddha statue was on a

“Mummy World” exhibition at the Hungarian Natural History Museum and attracted attention

after a CT scan last year found it contained a mummy of a 12th century Buddhist monk.

Photo by Jiang Kehong

 

Villagers show the clothes of the Buddha statue with a mummified monk inside before it was

stolen at Yangchun Village of Datian County, southeast China’s Fujian Province, on March 24,

2015.   Photo by Jiang Kehong

 

Villagers carry the chair of the Buddha statue with a mummified monk inside before it was

stolen at Yangchun Village of Datian County, southeast China’s Fujian Province, March 24,

2015.   Photo by Jiang Kehong

 

 

 

 

 

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