Chinese imperial seal auctioned in Paris

A Chinese bidder bought an 18th Century jade imperial seal for 1.68m euros (£1.5m) at a Paris auction house, despite protests by Chinese officials.

The Chinese bidder refused to give his name, but said he was acting on behalf of an art collector in France.

The piece sold for more than five times its estimated value after a tense bidding race with another Asian buyer.

Beijing said the Qing Dynasty relic was looted by British and French troops from its Summer Palace in 1860, towards the end of the Second Opium War. All such relics should be returned to China.

The auction house said the seal, mounted with two carved dragons, came from the personal collection of a descendant of a French general who commanded some of the invading troops.

The sale comes two months after the contested sale of two bronze animal heads also said to have been looted from the Summer Palace.


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