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Palace Museum to hold first memorial service for civilian donor

(People's Daily Online)    14:51, June 20, 2017

(File photo of He Gang)

China's Palace Museum will hold the first-ever memorial service in honor of a civilian donor.

This announcement was made by the museum on its official website on June 16; the announcement also noted that the memorial service is to mourn for the "obscure, selfless donor who made great contributions to China's cultural heritage protection."

The donor was He Gang, a 54-year-old migrant worker, who passed away in May due to a construction accident. In 1985, He uncovered a large jar containing many silver goods in his own yard in Zhoukou, Henan province. He first turned to his village Party chief for help, asking how to deal with the silver vases and cups. In the end, he decided to donate all the goods to the Palace Museum, even though others had approached him offering large sums of money for the relics.

The relics, 19 pieces of high-quality silver, were later identified as being from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

"The Palace Museum had just a few silver goods from the Yuan Dynasty at that time. He's donation filled in the gap," Liang Jinsheng, a retired official with the Palace Museum's relic management department, told Henan Daily. "It is not rare for us to receive donations. But ... He was the only one who donated something he dug out of his own yard."

(One piece of He Gang's donation)

According to Henan Daily, He's family was in massive debt at the time, with several family members suffering from various diseases. He was in charge of supporting his whole family.

"But no matter how hard it was, father never showed any regret about his donation. He kept telling us that it was a right thing to do," recalled He's daughter, He Hua. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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