An exhibition staged by a museum in Hamburg, Germany that claimed to show the famed Terracotta Warriors from Shaanxi Province was yesterday confirmed to be displaying fakes.
"They are not actually originals," the German news agency DPA reported Yolna Grimm, spokesman of the Center of Chinese Arts and Culture (CCAC), an exhibition company in Leipzig that provided the museum with the terracotta figures, as saying on TV yesterday.
"Well, this clay was used in those times. And, you know, the figures are life-sized like the originals in Xi'an," said Grimm.
An official from China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage told China Daily yesterday that Chinese authorities are investigating the issue.
The counterfeits, including eight warrior figures, two horses and 60 smaller objects, are still on display at an exhibition entitled "Power in Death", which opened on November 25 at the Hamburg Museum of Ethnology.
People came to doubt the authenticity of the figures on Sunday, when officials from Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi and near where the 2,000-year-old clay army was unearthed, visited the Hamburg museum and said the figures had to be copies.
They were quoted by German media as saying that they were not aware of original figures on loan in Germany.
If the exhibits are found to be fake, the CCAC may have to shoulder legal responsibilities, an earlier DPA report said.
Museum spokeswoman Marina Lifschitz told the press on Monday that the display will go on until a panel of Chinese experts arrive to review the figures later this week.
The museum has offered to give refunds to about 10,000 people who have visited the exhibition over the past three weeks.
A sign was also put up earlier this week, stating that the authenticity of the exhibits was disputed.
The Terracotta Warriors were unearthed in 1974 from the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang - who in 220 BC unified the country that is now China - after being discovered by villagers.
Source: China Daily