Summer Palace Pearls in 1860 Looted During Capture

Sounds like a movie....summer palace pearls in 1860 scattered on the floor and carried off by greedy soldiers.



Many superb pearls were among the precious objects in the Yuen-Min-Yuen or Summer Palace in Pekin at the time of its capture by the European forces in 1860. Numbers of these were lost in the confusion of the sacking and plunder, when the soldiers' pockets were filled and the floors were strewn with jewels, beautiful objects of gold and silver, rich silks and furs, carved jade, lapis lazuli, etc. Some of the pearls found their way to Europe, and especially to France and England. They were of good size and luster and were mostly yellowish in color. Unfortunately, many were crudely drilled with large holes, and had been strung on gold wires by which they were attached to the idols they decorated at the time they were stolen. More than one hundred, each over thirty grains in weight were received in England, and sold at an average of nearly one thousand dollars.

A similar booty came from the spoliation during the war between China and Japan in 1894, and during the Boxer outbreaks of 1901, and quantities of pearls, often large and of fine color, but a little the worse for wear, were brought to the United States and Europe by the soldiers and officials, and also by traders and travelers who obtained them in China. The pendant figured is one of these objects.

Summer Palace Pearls in 1860 as recorded by Kunz and Stevenson in "The Book of the Pearl".

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