A soldier of the famed Xian Terracotta Army (central China) suffered a break and theft of a finger during an exhibition in Philadelphia before Chinese property patrols called for harsh penalties against the perpetrator of the act of vandalism and think of asking for compensation.
According to the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper, the Chinese center charged with organizing this exhibition condemned “the theft and destruction of this cultural heritage” and called for a severe punishment of the person responsible for the event.
The value of the statue that was damaged “is incalculable,” said a spokesman for the Shaanxi Cultural Promotion Center, the central province of China where the famous Terracotta Army is located.
The South China Morning Post reported that the center is considering the possibility of seeking compensation from the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, where the event occurred.
According to Chinese media reports, the author of the robbery took advantage of a night party held at the Institute on December 21 to sneak into a room where the terracotta soldier was exposed, take a selfie while leaning on his shoulder and plucking a finger, which he took home.
The American museum publicly apologized for the incident, which was investigated in January when someone noticed that one of the toes of the statue was missing, so the “looter” was discovered after an FBI investigation and detained, although currently on parole and waiting for judgment.
The Franklin Institute hosts until March 10 of the 8,000 soldiers of the Terracotta Army, which was discovered in the 70s, is about 2,200 years old and is considered one of the most valuable assets of the ancient Chinese civilization.
The Shaanxi heritage center has lent the statues, but officials have hitherto reported no such incidents.