Chinese officials condemn Franklin Institute after terracotta warrior thumb theft

20 February, 2018, 18:30 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • China condemns US man for stealing terracotta warrior's thumb after posing for selfie

United States federal authorities have said that 24-year old Michael Rohana has been charged with damaging the US$4.5m Chinese relic while attending a party held at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on December 21, reported China Plus.

Rohana, from DE, was attending an Ugly Sweater Party at the Franklin Institute on December 21 when he entered the "Terra-cotta Warriors of the First Emperor" exhibit, according to an arrest affidavit.

The FBI said that Rohana used a cellular telephone as a flashlight, looked at various exhibits displayed in the then-closed showroom, stepped up onto a platform supporting one of the statues, and took a selfie with it.

According to surveillance camera footage, after the two other party guests had left the room, Rohana took a selfie with his arm draped over the shoulder of one of the statues.

An official urged the US authorities to "seriously investigate" the incident, to "punish severely the culprit" and launch "compensation procedures".

"The terracotta warriors are national treasures of our country", the official, who had not been named, said.

The cultural relics authority of northwest China's Shaanxi Province will send two experts to fix the damaged terracotta warrior statue, Xinhua reported.

China condemns US man for stealing terracotta warrior's thumb after posing for selfie

Wu also "strongly condemned" the Franklin Institute for not looking after the statues, according to CCTV.

Rohana, 24, was charged last week in Philadelphia with theft of an artwork from a museum, concealment of the artwork and interstate transportation of stolen property.

The vandalized statue is worth quite a thumb, er, sum: $4.5 million. He was arrested on art theft charges and later released on bail.

A Franklin Institute spokeswoman said previously the statue will be repaired, adding that a security contractor did not follow standard procedures the night of the alleged theft.

HONG KONG-The warrior was a symbol of martial strength, moulded from terracotta and buried more than 2,000 years ago with China's first emperor to defend him in the afterlife.

Another group of 10 terracotta warriors are now on display at the World Museum in Liverpool. The statues are on display at the museum until March 4. On its Web page for the exhibit, the Franklin Institute describes the statues as "one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in history", one that captivated the world when farmers in China stumbled upon an army of more than 8,000 terra-cotta warriors beneath the dirt while digging a well in 1974.


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