Tradition of vandalizing China's treasures endures at Palace Museum|WCT

Tradition of vandalizing China’s treasures endures at Palace Museum

The etching between the handles of the copper vessel. (Internet photo)

An engraved “love peach” circling the etched names of a man and a woman clearly did not quite fit with the otherwise austere character of one of the 300-year-old ceremonial copper vessels at the Palace Museum in Beijing. Internet users in the country are in strong agreement on yet another case of petty vandalism of the world’s ancient artifacts by Chinese tourists, reports Shanghai-based online outlet the Paper.

“Zhang Tao and Liu Ya, show your love for each other somewhere else,” said netizen Diamond Blade. “Carving your names into a 300-year-old artifact is a crime.”

The names of the pair were etched next to the handle of a Ming Dynasty jar that is at least 300 years old, according to a staff member at the museum, the former palace of China’s emperors.

Such instances of vandalism occur every year at the Palace Museum because the fine for such an offense is miniscule, the employee said. According to the country’s laws governing the protection of cultural relics, instances where the surface of a relic is altered by drawing or carving may be punished with a maximum fine of 200 yuan (US$30). Those who significantly damage the piece may be detained by the Ministry of Public Security, while heavy damage calls for a civil lawsuit and significant monetary compensation, according to the Beijing Times.

More: Tradition of vandalizing China’s treasures endures at Palace Museum|WCT

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