Museum Security Network

Hamburg's Chinese Terracotta Warriors May Be Fakes, Museum Says

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) — Chinese terracotta soldiers on display in Hamburg’s Museum of Anthropology may be fakes and an inquiry into their authenticity is under way, the museum said. The exhibition will now be “equipped with a warning that the authenticity of the figures is disputed,” director Wulf Koepke said in a statement on the museum’s Web site. “An examination into the authenticity of the terracotta warriors is continuing.”  The show “Macht im Tod” (“Power in Death”) opened in November and is scheduled to run until Sept. 30, 2008. A description on the Web site says there are more than 70 authentic exhibits from excavations in China, including eight restored terracotta figures representing characters from the emperor’s court and army and two horses.  The exhibition was organized in cooperation with the Center of Chinese Arts and Culture GmbH, of Markkleeberg, near Leipzig. The museum statement said the company is “investigating the background of a news story from DPA,” the German press agency.  DPA yesterday reported that Chinese authorities hadn’t approved the export of the warriors for the Hamburg exhibition, and that the state office for cultural property in Beijing said the exhibits were probably illegal copies.  The only current exhibition in Europe of the figures approved by Chinese authorities is in London, DPA said. The British Museum is showing the 2,200-year-old soldiers in “The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army,” which runs through April 6, 2008.  To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Hickley in Berlin at chickley@bloomberg.net .  

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