Agreement Extended To Protect Archaeological Heritage of China

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January 23, 2014 – The Department of State announces the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding between the government of the United States of America and the government of the People’s Republic of China concerning the imposition of import restrictions on categories of archaeological material from the Paleolithic period through the Tang Dynasty and monumental sculpture and wall art at least 250 years old. This extension, consistent with the recommendations made by the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, represents a continuation of cooperation that began in 2009 when the U.S. imposed import restrictions to stanch the pillage of China’s rich archaeological heritage and the illicit trafficking in pillaged cultural property.

Restricted objects may enter the United States only if accompanied by an export permit issued by the Chinese authorities or documentation verifying its provenance outside of China prior to the effective date of the restriction: January 16, 2009. The restricted material, listed in a notice in today’s Federal Register, includes objects generally associated with the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods, Erlitou Culture, and the Shang through Tang Dynasties ranging in date from approximately 75,000 B.C. to A.D. 907. The restrictions also cover monumental and wall art 250 years or older as of January 14, 2009.

The extension of the current agreement also will facilitate more exhibition loans to U.S. museums and sustained advanced international research on Chinese archaeological sites. The two countries are States Party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

For more information, visit the Cultural Heritage Center.

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