China Museum Shut Down as Exhibits Shown to Be Forgeries

Chinese authorities forced the closing of a museum curated by a local Communist Party boss in northern China after determining that almost all of the items in its 50 million-yuan ($8.1 million) collection were fake.

Forgeries at the museum in Hebei province included an item billed as a five-color porcelain vase from the Tang Dynasty, even though the artistic technique wasn’t invented until hundreds of years later, the Shanghai Daily said in a story today. Another item was purportedly signed in simplified Chinese by an emperor said to have lived more than 3,000 years before the writing system was invented.

Residents in nearby village of Erpu had long argued that the party boss who oversaw the collection bought fake items with money raised for the museum, the Global Times newspaper said today. The museum, called Jibaozhai, was shut after photos of its exhibits appeared online with a story questioning their authenticity, the newspaper said.

“Jibaozhai has no qualification to be a museum as its collections are fake and it hasn’t reported to my department for approval,” said an official from the Hebei cultural heritage bureau with the last name Li, according to the Global Times.

Counterfeiters in China have faked everything from medicine to Kweichow Moutai’s high-end liquor to Apple Inc. (AAPL) stores. At strategic talks with the U.S. earlier this month, Chinese government officials promised to do more to protect intellectual property.

The official Xinhua News agency reported that the museum was founded with a 50 million-yuan investment. A story on Sina.com included photographs of figurines on display with the caption “fake collections.”

The Shanghai Daily quoted museum deputy curator Shao Baoming as saying that “at least half” of the exhibits on display were authentic.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Nicholas Wadhams in Beijing at nwadhams@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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