Ancient Afghan artifacts protected through Chinese exhibitions

People's Daily Online

For more than one year, Chinese museums have been displaying ancient cultural treasures from Afghanistan with the aim of protecting them before they are shipped to another country for exhibition.

The 2,000-year-old treasures belong to the National Museum of Afghanistan, which used to be home to over 100,000 cultural relics. But during wars from 1990 to 2001, the artifacts were severely damaged. To protect them, the Afghan government decided to relocate them, and it wasn't until 2003 that they were retrieved by archeologists.

Since 2016, the treasures have been exhibited around the world, in countries such as France, Italy, the Netherlands, the US, Australia and Japan.

In March 2017, they came to the Palace Museum in Beijing, China.

The stable social environment and sound museum equipment in countries such as China have made the Afghan side believe that bringing the treasures as part of a worldwide exhibition is a good way to protect them, said a person in charge of the current exhibition surnamed Li.

The treasures were scheduled to be shipped to another country after the three-month exhibition ended, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the original plan was cancelled.

Without the presence of another host country, the relics would have had to be sent back to Afghanistan where the situation is currently unstable, leaving their fate unknown.

To avoid the risk of the world cultural heritage items becoming damaged, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China and the Palace Museum decided to keep the artifacts in the Palace Museum temporarily.

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