GQ Investigates the Rise in Chinese Art Thefts Worldwide

An 18th century lacquer box that was stolen from the Chinese Pavilion of the Swedish Royal Palace Drottningholm in 2010
An 18th century lacquer box that was stolen from the Chinese Pavilion of the Swedish Royal Palace Drottningholm in 2010

GQ sent writer Alex W. Palmer to investigate the sharp increase in Chinese art heists at museums worldwide.

In 2010, there was a brazen break-in at the Swedish royal residence, with the state collection at the Chinese Pavilion raided of antiquities on the grounds of Drottningholm Palace. Not long after, the China Collection at the KODE Museum in Bergen, Norway, was hit (twice). Next, the Oriental Museum at Durham University, followed by a museum at Cambridge University, were robbed in the U.K. The list goes on and on.

Palmer writes: "In each case, the robbers focused their efforts on art and antiquities from China, especially items that had been looted by foreign armies. Many of these objects are well documented and publicly known, making them very hard to sell and difficult to display. In most cases the pieces have not been recovered; they seem to simply vanish."

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