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Red List of Chinese Cultural Objects at Risk

This Red List has been designed as a tool to assist museums, dealers in art and antiquities, collectors, and customs and law enforcement officials in the Identification of objects that may have been looted and illicitly exported from China. To facilitate identification, the Red List illustrates a number of categories of objects that are at risk of being illicitly traded on the international antiquities market.

Objects of the types illustrated hereafter are protected by Chinese legislation that specifically prohibits their unauthorised export and sale. Therefore, ICOM appeals to museums, auction houses, dealers in art and antiquities, and collectors not to purchase such objects without first having checked thoroughly their origin and provenance documentation.

Because of the great diversity of Chinese objects, styles and periods, the Red List of Chinese Cultural Objects at Risk is not exhaustive, and any antiquity originating from China should be subjected to detailed scrutiny and precautionary measures.

 

Download the Red List of Chinese Cultural Objects at Risk in English

Download the Red List of Chinese Cultural Objects at Risk in French

Download the Red List of Chinese Cultural Objects at Risk in German

Context

China’s rich cultural heritage reflects the diversity and complexity of the cultures that have flourished there for the past ten millennia. Since the mid-19th century, large numbers of invaluable antiquities and other cultural objects have been stolen, and many of them taken abroad. During recent decades, in spite of increased efforts made by the Chinese government to protect China’s past through the enhancement of national and international legislative and other collaborative efforts, the looting of Chinese sites and the illicit trade in antiquities for domestic as well as international markets have developed as serious threats that cause irreparable harm to China’s unique heritage. It is therefore the responsibility of everyone – both inside and outside of China – to help preserve this heritage for future generations.