Artefacts stolen from the Palace of Fontainebleu Chinese museum


Chateau Fontainebleau, Image courtesy of Wikipedia

On Sunday 1 March 2015, several highly valuable artefacts and artworks were stolen from the Chinese museum of the Palace of Fontainebleu in France.

The Chinese and Siamese artefacts were collected by the Empress Eugénie, who put them on display in her Chinese museum in 1863. Amongst the most important items in the collection are the crown of the King of Siam, a gift by Siamese ambassadors to Napoleon II during their official visit in 1861, in addition to a Tibetan mandala and cloisonné enamel Chinese chimera from the Quianlong era (1736-1795). “The burglars entered the building shortly before 6am. The Chinese museum is one of the most secure parts of the palace, with alarms at security cameras, which succeeded in limiting the duration of the robbery to seven minutes. The police arrived at the scene shortly afterwards and are currently conducting an investigation,” said the minister.

Director of the palace, Jean-François Hebert has said: “We are very shocked by these events […] It seems that the burglars were extremely well organised, and knew exactly what they wanted and conducted the robbery very professionally,” adding that the stolen pieces were “unique” and “highly valuable”.