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The Tell of An Antiques Collector

4 March 2009

Chai Mingchao, a Xiamen native in China's Fujian Province, who hilariously messed up an illegal French auction for two bronze zodiac heads looted by French and British armies in the 19th century, is a high profile Chinese antiques collector. Back in 2006, with over 100 million Hong Kong dollars, he broke the world record for Buddha statues at auction, and became the first Chinese who shattered auction record for the purpose of returning lost treasures back to China.

The sitting Buddha statue was created during the reign of Emperor Yongle of Ming Dynasty (1402 – 1424), and it is one of the two biggest Buddhist statues from that period known for their exquisite craftsmanship. The other one was smuggled into Britain and is current kept at the British Museum.

The bronze statue is gold plated, with the Buddha eyes, lips painted with colour during a formal consecration ceremony hosted by the eminent Buddhist monks. The base under the lotus seat is actually a box containing micro-version of 26 volumes of Buddhist sutras.

Coincidently, or not coincidently at all, the day he won the bid was the birthday anniversary of historical Buddha Shakyamusni.

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Buddha Roots

On the bank of Jurong River (句容河) at Zhenjiang City (镇江市) in Jiangsu Province, there is a metasequoia tree erected, reaching 20m tall. November last year, 36 aerial roots suddenly manifested out of nowhere, assuming shapes that resemble the well-known Buddhist figures in meditation.

(Source: 扬子晚报 )

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