Global

American man steals a thumb of Chinese terracotta warrior after selfie

American man steals a thumb of Chinese terracotta warrior after selfie

THE theft of a thumb of an ancient Terracotta Warrior statue on display in the USA incited a wave of criticism on Chinese social media today, following China's calls to "severely punish" the thief.

The man, who was attending the museum's after-hours ugly-sweater party on December 21, entered the terracotta warrior exhibition room and used his cellphone's flashlight to view the displays. The terracotta statues were built by the emperor who believed they would protect him in the afterlife.

According to surveillance camera footage, after the two other party guests had left the room, Rohana took a selfie with his arm draped over the shoulder of one of the statues.

The FBI said that Rohana used a cellular telephone as a flashlight, looked at various exhibits displayed in the then-closed showroom, stepped up onto a platform supporting one of the statues, and took a selfie with it.

The Terracotta Army is one of China's most important archaeological findings.

Federal authorities said Michael Rohana, 24, from DE, stole the thumb. A United States student has been arrested for snapping off a thumb of one of the ancient statues on display at the Franklin Institute in Pennsylvania.

The cultural relics authority of northwest China's Shaanxi Province will send two experts to fix the damaged terracotta warrior statue, Xinhua reported.

"We call on the U.S. side to severely punish the person who committed such a damaging act of vandalism and theft of humanity's cultural heritage", the director of the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relic Exchange Centre told the Beijing Youth Daily Sunday.

He was released on bail on February 13.

The statue Rohana allegedly defaced is called the Cavalryman and dates to around 210 B.C. The museum has said the statue valued at $4.5 million will be repaired. When asked if he had anything he wanted to hand over, Rohana said he had a finger, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation agent retrieved from a desk in the man's bedroom.

"The terracotta warriors are national treasures of our country", the unnamed official was quoted as saying.

She said in a statement: "This was a deplorable act, and we share in the condemnation of this crime as expressed by our partners at the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center".

The statue is one of 10 on loan to the Franklin Institute, from among 8,000 life-size warriors that make up the Terracotta Army. The exhibit will run until March 4.

The mausoleum was discovered by Chinese farmers in 1974, and the site and its clay trove were named to UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1987.


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