China furious over theft of terracotta warrior’s thumb
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China furious over theft of terracotta warrior’s thumb

CHINESE custodians of the 2,200-year-old terracotta warriors loaned to an American museum have expressed their anger over the theft of a finger from one of the statues late last year.

Chinese state media outlet Xinhua reported this week that two experts from the government-run Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre will travel to the Franklin Institute in Pennsylvania to repair the statue, which is worth an estimated $4.5 million.

The Franklin Institute is currently displaying 10 terracotta warriors as part of its “Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor” exhibition.

In December last year, a 24-year-old man reportedly stole the thumb while attending an ugly sweater party at the museum after sneaking into where the statues were displayed.

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The FBI’s Art Crime Team tracked down Michael Rohana to his home where he was arrested and later released on $15,000 bail.

The Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre has publicly criticised the US host institution, expressing its “strong resentment” over the incident and frustration over the “careless” management of the artifacts.

Spokesperson for the centre Wu Haiyun was quoted by the BBC as saying that “We ask that the US severely punish the perpetrator. We have lodged a serious protest with them”.

Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times reported that the Shaanxi centre has lodged a compensation claim and is contacting other institutions that are hosting terracotta warriors to ensure they have adequate security in place.

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