Preface: The Recommendation on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property was adopted at 13th Session of The General Conference of UNESCO, Paris, 20 Oct.-20 Nov., 1964.
“Every day, looting and plundering of priceless cultural treasures continue all over the world. The devastation of China’s cultural heritage caused by the illicit antiquities trade is perhaps among the most severe. Tomb raiders, smugglers, and citizens driven by poverty, ignorance, and especially greed ravage the world’s second largest country and destroy its most valuable non-renewable resource: China’s 7,000-year cultural history. This activity is fueled by the seemingly insatiable appetite for the exotic and beautiful at any cost— particularly in Western countries, such as the United States.”
The General Conference of UNESCO (13th Session), Paris, 20 Oct.-20 Nov., 1964
- The Recommendation proposes that member states draw up national inventories of cultural property, both publicly and privately held.
- It recommends establishing national services to protect against illegal export of cultural property and developing a certification process to authorize exports.
- Recommendation on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1964). http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001145/114581f.pdf#page=149
- Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970). http://orcp.hustoj.com/2015/11/03/illicit-1970/
- Subsidiary Committee of the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (UNESCO, Paris, 1970)
- The Fight against the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Objects: the 1970 Convention: Past and Future.
- SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone. http://savingantiquities.org/a-global-concern/china/
- Fighting Illicit Traffic. http://icom.museum/programmes/fighting-illicit-traffic/
- Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/illicit-trafficking-of-cultural-property
- Hilgers, L. (2013). Tomb Raider Chronicles. Archaeology, 66(4), 55–60. Tomb Raider Chronicles
Experts Believe that 100,000 looters are currently active in China, with more than 400,000 ancient graves robbed in the last 20 years alone.
—Lauren Hilgers, “Tomb Raider Chronicles,” June 10, 2013
- Red Lists Database. http://icom.museum/resources/red-lists-database/
Red List of Chinese Cultural Objects at Risk
This Red List has been designed as a tool to assist museums, dealers in art and antiquities, collectors, and customs and law enforcement officials in the Identification of objects that may have been looted and illicitly exported from China. To facilitate identification, the Red List illustrates a number of categories of objects that are at risk of being illicitly traded on the international antiquities market.
Objects of the types illustrated hereafter are protected by Chinese legislation that specifically prohibits their unauthorized export and sale. Therefore, ICOM appeals to museums, auction houses, dealers in art and antiquities, and collectors not to purchase such objects without first having checked thoroughly their origin and provenance documentation.
Because of the great diversity of Chinese objects, styles and periods, the Red List of Chinese Cultural Objects at Risk is not exhaustive, and any antiquity originating from China should be subjected to detailed scrutiny and precautionary measures.
Download the Red List of Chinese Cultural Objects at Risk in English: Red List of Chinese Cultural Objects at Risk
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