A number of valuable Chinese objects have been reported stolen from a much loved small museum in Bath. Jade figures a Jizhou stoneware vase and soapstone figure of Dongfang Shuo were counted missing as masked raiders smashed their way into the building to steal “priceless” Chinese artefacts. The Museum of East Asian Art is thought to have been targeted by thieves six years ago.
Police stated the Chinese objects may have been “stolen to order”
Police stated the items may have been “stolen to order” by the four masked men who were recorded on CCTV at the Museum of East Asian Art on Tuesday. Jade, ceramics and gold artefacts dating from the Ming and Qing dynasty eras were among the exhibits taken.
This is not the first time an UK museum has been targeted by thieves. In 2012 key objects valued at £57m were taken from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
Rachel Yuan, a curator at the museum, said: “These items are priceless and have huge sentimental and cultural value. “They would be very hard to replace and we are all really shocked and devastated.” A jade mandarin duck and a jade monkey holding a peach plus Early Ming dynasty gold belt plaques were found to be missing.
Witnesses reported the break-in at the museum in Bennett Street at about 01:20 GMT. The men were seen breaking into the museum through a first-floor window and making off in a dark-coloured SUV. A jade monkey holding a peach, from the early Ming dynasty, Jade mandarin ducks with lotus flowers, Qing dynasty, An inlaid wooden covered box, Qing dynasty, A soapstone figure of Dongfang Shuo, Late Ming-early Qing dynasty, A set of 14 gold belt plaques, early Ming dynasty, A Jizhou stoneware vase, southern Song dynasty were catalogued as missing.
DS Matthew Reed said: “We suspect this to be a targeted attack with the Chinese artefacts possibly stolen to order. “These items range in monetary value, but their cultural significance is priceless.”
Police seized a white Ford Transit van, which had been stolen from Ballance Street and was left at the scene. The museum is closed until 5 May and said it will need to raise money to repair damage caused.