如何应对第四次工业革命? 世经论坛主席告诉你“秘诀”!zz

如何应对第四次工业革命?
世经论坛主席告诉你“秘诀”!

2017-06-28 20:12 来源: 新京报

这恐怕是当下政治家、经济学家和社会学家最为关注的命题之一,那就是如何成功应对第四次工业革命。对此,世界经济论坛主席施瓦布告诉与会者的“秘诀”是:“大众创业、万众创新”。

“中国正向世界展示出更加强大的引领第四次工业革命的能力,这一新时期成功的秘诀,就是‘大众创业、万众创新’。”6月27日,施瓦布在2017年夏季达沃斯论坛开幕式上断言,“这一重要经济创新理念共同塑造了我们的未来。”

事实上,正是在3年前的夏季达沃斯论坛上,李克强总理首次提出了“大众创业、万众创新”。当时,李克强用了“大智兴邦,不过集众思”这句古语来形容这一理念对于中国经济发展的长远意义。

6月27日,施瓦布主席在开场白中说,如今中国经济各方面都有所改善,并展现出巨大发展活力。为显示他的断言并非“一家之言”,他援引国际货币基金组织对2017年中国经济增速预期从6.6%上调至6.7%作为佐证。这是该机构今年以来第二次上调中国经济增速预期。

施瓦布所言的“秘诀”无疑是中国经济充满活力的重要支撑之一。英国路透社评论,中国政府已经探索出“双创”的成熟路径,创新创业正成为中国经济增长的新引擎。

有数据表明:自2014年李克强首次提出“双创”以来,中国平均每天新增市场主体超过4万家,这一令许多外国领导人惊讶的数字,相当于不少中等经济体中小微企业的总量。其中新登记企业近1.4万户,企业活跃度保持在70%左右,今年5月份每天新登记企业更是达到1.8万户。

雨后春笋般兴起的各类市场主体已成为就业最大的“容纳器”。按照美国《外交政策》杂志的说法,“就业”可谓世界性的长期难题。而在全球经济经历深刻调整、国内经济面临下行压力的背景下,中国连续4年做到了城镇新增就业1300万人左右,总计实现5000多万新增就业。

“中国曾经以廉价劳动力闻名于世。现在它有了其他东西来贡献给世界——创新。”美国《华尔街日报》报道。根据世界知识产权组织等机构刚刚发布的“2017年全球创新指数排名”,中国排名第22位,较2013年上升13位,位居中等收入经济体之首。

“双创”带给中国经济内在结构的巨大变化更是有目共睹。2016年,消费对经济增长的贡献率上升到64.6%,成为经济增长的主要力量;服务业增加值占比提高到51.6%,占据半壁江山;科技进步贡献率上升到56.2%,创新对发展的支撑作用明显增强。

许多经济界人士都注意到了上述变化。有分析指出,如果把过去拉动经济增长的投资、出口、消费比作“三驾马车”,那么消费升级、高端服务业和高科技无疑是未来助力中国经济发展的“新三驾轿车”。

经济合作与发展组织最近发布的报告称,中国结构性改革取得积极进展,成效显著,其中效率增长和就业充分成为经济增长的主要动力。

今年4月,联合国大会通过决议,将每年4月21日指定为世界创意和创新日,并呼吁各国支持“大众创业、万众创新”。

“我也想祝贺您,祝贺中华人民共和国政府,因为在全球你们是把第四次工业革命纳入进来最好的一个政府。”6月27日的开幕式上,在李克强总理致辞之后,施瓦布再次表达了他对中国政府成功应对第四次工业革命所采取措施的赞美之词。

“我们不敢说我们做得最好,因为中国有一句成语叫做‘月盈则亏’,但我们始终追求在不完美当中达成完美。”李克强回应道。(新京报特约记者 穆伊)

2017-06-28 20:12 来源: 新京报

如何应对第四次工业革命? 世经论坛主席告诉你“秘诀”!
http://www.gov.cn/premier/2017-06/28/content_5206510.htm

如何应对第四次工业革命?世经论坛主席告诉你“秘诀”!
2017-06-28 18:00:04

  这恐怕是当下政治家、经济学家和社会学家最为关注的命题之一,那就是如何成功应对第四次工业革命。对此,世界经济论坛主席施瓦布告诉与会者的“秘诀”是:“大众创业、万众创新&rdq…

考古:Les aventures du moine dans la statue continuent

Les aventures du moine dans la statue continuent

En juillet 2017, la justice néerlandaise tranchera dans l’affaire du « moine dans la statue », et décidera finalement de son attribution.

ARCHÉOLOGIE 考古 法语

肉身坐佛的冒险继续

Moine dans la statue

En juillet 2017, la justice néerlandaise tranchera dans l’affaire du « moine dans la statue », et décidera finalement de son attribution.

© PHOTO BY M. ELSEVIER STOKMANS/DRENTS MUSEUM

Sa découverte avait stupéfait les spécialistes en septembre 2014, lorsqu’un examen scanner réalisé à Rotterdam (Pays-Bas) lors d’une opération de restauration d’une statue bouddhique du XIe-XIIe siècle avait révélé qu’il contenait… les restes d’un moine momifié (Sciences et Avenir, édition n°819). Trois ans plus tard, c’est devant la justice néerlandaise que ce trésor archéologique resurgit, les juges devant trancher pour décider de son attribution le 14 juillet 2017, une communauté chinoise en réclamant la restitution.

(机器翻译:)在2014年九月它的发现惊呆了专家,在鹿特丹(回顾CT扫描荷兰十一,十二世纪的佛像的还原操作过程中)已经表明它含有的遗体……木乃伊和尚(科学与未来,版本号819) 。三年后,也就是在这之前这个考古宝藏复出的荷兰法院,法官决定来决定它的奖2017 7月14日,中国的社区通过要求归还。

Une présence expliquée par la pratique rituelle de l’automomification

存在解释automomification的礼仪实践

La dépouille humaine, retrouvée à l’intérieur de cette statue chinoise Song (960-1127), s’est révélée être celle de Zhang Gong Liuqian, un célèbre maitre bouddhiste comme en attestait un texte retrouvé à l’intérieur de la statue. Sa présence insolite s’explique par la pratique rituelle spectaculaire de l’automomification, suivie dans le plus grand secret essentiellement entre le Ve et le XVe siècle par une poignée de religieux. (Elle consistait en une momification rituelle par des jeûnes alimentaires intenses suivis pendant plusieurs années, pour ne devenir quasiment que peau et os).

中国宋代(960-1127)雕像内发现的人类遗骸,被认为是的章公六全祖师,作为证明在雕像里发现了一个文本著名的佛教老师。他的不寻常的存在是由automomification戏剧性的礼仪惯例解释遵循的最大秘密主要之间的第五和第十五世纪的宗教少数。(它包括激烈的食品禁食随后几年仪式木乃伊,成为几乎是皮包骨)。

Une sombre affaire de momie volée en 1995 qui refait surface 10 ans plus tard

一个黑暗的木乃伊的情况下于1995年被盗复出10年后

C’est à l’occasion de la présentation de cette statue dans le cadre de l’exposition Mummy World au Musée national d’histoire naturelle de Budapest (Hongrie) en 2015 – où Sciences et Avenir s’était rendu – que les ennuis ont commencé pour son propriétaire, l’architecte designer hollandais Oscar van Overeem. Alertés, les habitants du village de Yangshun, dans la province du Fujian, au sud-est de la Chine, ont en effet cru reconnaitre dans cette statue exposée celle de leur moine adulé, volée en décembre 1995. Ils ont alors confié l’affaire à un groupe de juristes chinois conduits par Liu Yang, un spécialiste des récupérations d’antiquités, comme le rapporte le Financial Review du 2 juin 2017. De fait, le 14 juillet 2017, cet avocat tentera de démontrer devant un tribunal hollandais que la statue disparue du village de Yanchun est bien celle qui s’est retrouvée dans les ateliers néerlandais de Carel Kools, le restaurateur auteur du scanner. Des faits que Benny Rustenburg, l’antiquaire auprès duquel Oscar van Overeem a acheté la statue, dit avoir ignorés.  Selon ce collectionneur basé en Asie, celle-ci aurait été acquise par lui à Hong Kong en 1995.

这是这尊雕像的演示文稿作为展览的一部分期间妈咪世界在自然历史在布达佩斯(匈牙利),2015年国家博物馆-在科学等艾文莉去-那麻烦开始它的主人,建筑师荷兰设计师奥斯卡面包车Overeem。惊觉,在福建省东南Yangshun村民中国,确实相信认识到这暴露了他们的尊敬和尚的塑像,在1995年12月被盗,他们届时提及的情况下一组中国律师的带领下利·扬,在古色古香的回收率的专家,所报告的财务回顾 6月2日2017年事实上,2017年7月14日该律师将试图荷兰法院审理认为,雕像前展示从艳春的村庄消失是谁在荷兰车间卡尔·库尔斯,笔者餐馆扫描结束的一个。事实尼勒斯滕堡,从他们的奥斯卡面包车Overeem买了雕像的古董商,据说已被忽略。据总部设在亚洲的收藏家,它会在香港于1995年收购了他。

Un objet dont la valeur atteint plusieurs millions de dollars

其值的对象是数百万

L’enjeu de cette affaire étrange autour de la possession de cet ” objet d’art ” – dont la valeur atteint désormais plusieurs millions de dollars – a aussi produit des dégâts collatéraux sur les relations Chine – Pays-Bas. Depuis plusieurs années, Pékin cherche en effet à récupérer ses objets pillés, à l’instar de ceux disparus lors du Sac du Palais d’Eté par les troupes anglo-françaises à Pékin, en 1860, ou ceux vendus à l’étranger suite à l’effondrement des Qing en 1911. Après les innombrables destructions de patrimoine commises par les Gardes Rouges pendant la Révolution culturelle (1966-1976), la protection du patrimoine chinois est devenu une priorité nationale comme l’avait rappelé en 2014 le président XI Jinping. La justice néerlandaise devrait mettre sa décision en délibéré.

关于藏“艺术品”的这种奇怪的情况下所面临的挑战 – 其值现在已经达到几百万美元 – 也产生了对中国关系的附带损害 – 荷兰。多年来,北京试图确实收回被掠夺的对象,像那些在1860年在北京的英法联军在袋颐和园失踪,那些后销往国外清在1911年崩溃文化大革命(1966年至1976年)期间,红卫兵犯下了无数财富的破坏之后,中国遗产保护已成为国家的优先事项为2014年习近平被召回。荷兰法院应作出下储备的决定。

https://www.sciencesetavenir.fr/archeo-paleo/archeologie/les-aventures-du-moine-dans-la-statue-continuent_113859

 

 

ARCHAEOLOGY

Mummified Monk Sits Inside Ancient Buddha Statue

Sitting in the lotus position, the 1,000-year-old mummy fits within the statue perfectly.

FEBRUARY 23, 2015
1:21 PM EST

Researchers at the Drents Museum in the Netherlands made a shocking discovery when they imaged an ancient Chinese statue and found a nearly 1,000-year-old mummy inside.

Sitting in the lotus position, the mummy fits within the statue perfectly.

“On the outside, it looks like a large statue of Buddha,” the museum said in a release. “Scan research has shown that on the inside, it is the mummy of a Buddhist monk who lived around the year 1100.”

Corpse of 200-Year-Old Monk Found in Lotus Position

Glowing through the statue’s golden cast, the human skeleton is believed to belong to Buddhist master Liuquan, a member of the Chinese Meditation School.

To further investigate the mummy, the researchers took the statue to the Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort and carried out an endoscopy and additional CT scans.

They found out that Liuquan’s internal organs had been removed.

“The mummified body hidden inside the buddhist statue is sitting on a roll of cloth,” Buddhism expert Erik Bruijn told Discovery News. “On this cloth are Chinese characters written in black ink, mentioning the name of the venerable monk: Liuquan,” he added.

According to Bruijn, the name means “Six Perfections.”

“It refers to the virtues perfected by a being who seeks buddhahood through the systematic practice of the six perfect virtues but renounces complete entry into nirvana until all beings are saved,” Bruijn said.

The museum speculates Liu Quan Liuquan may have “self-mummified” in order to become a “living Buddha.”

Practiced mainly in Japan, self-mummification was a grueling process that required a monk to follow a strict 1,000-day diet of nuts and seeds in order to strip the body of fat. A diet of bark and roots would follow for another 1,000 days.

Video: Cool Jobs: Mummy Hunter

At the end of this period, the monk began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Japanese varnish tree, normally used to lacquer bowls and plates. The tea caused profuse vomiting as well as a rapid loss of bodily fluids, possibly making the body too poisonous to be eaten by bacteria and insects.

A living skeleton, the monk was then placed in a stone tomb barely larger than his body, which was equipped with an air tube and a bell.

Never moving from the lotus position, the monk would ring the bell each day to let those outside know that he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the monk was presumed dead, the air tube removed and the tomb sealed.

After another 1,000 days the tomb would be opened to check whether the monk had been successfully mummified. Of the hundreds of monks that tried this horrifying process, only a few dozen actually became self-mummified and venerated in temples as a Buddha.

Optical Illusion: Child Mummy Opens And Closes Her Eyes

Researchers aren’t certain when or how this monk’s organs were then removed.

The Buddha statue is currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Budapest. It will remain there until May.

Image: A scan reveals the body of a nearly 1,000-year-old Buddhist monk inside the statue of Buddha. Credit: Drents Museum.

https://www.seeker.com/mummified-monk-sits-inside-ancient-buddha-statue-1769541640.html

Millions at stake as Chinese villagers take collector to court over “man in the Buddha”

Millions at stake as Chinese villagers take collector to court over “man in the Buddha”

Religious artefact: The discovery of a body inside an ancient Buddha has triggered cultural controversy and an ...

Religious artefact: The discovery of a body inside an ancient Buddha has triggered cultural controversy and an international dispute. Supplied

by John Hooper and Ted PlafkerAround the time that William of Normandy was conquering England, the Buddhist master Zhang Qisan decided it was time to die. Or rather, he felt it was time to begin the next stage of his existence by transforming himself into a living mummy.

Qisan was born in the tiny hill village of Xukeng where even today most of the inhabitants have the surname Zhang. His family had the unusual tradition of giving their children numbers as forenames. “Qisan” means 73 – his grand­father’s age when he was born.

When he was a boy, he wandered far and wide before deciding to enter a monastery. The profound knowledge of herbal remedies he acquired there won him fame and affection. He was so pious that he earned the honorific title of “Gong” (Lord) and became known as Zhang Gong. He was – and is – considered a bodhisattva: one capable of attaining nirvana, but who chooses to remain in the physical world out of compassion for humanity.

From around the late third century ad, some masters, including Zhang Gong, succeeded in controlling the manner and timing of their deaths by means of self-mummification. They ordered their disciples to store their bodies after their deaths and told them that when they recovered the body after a year or so, they would find it intact.

A man from Yangchun village riding his bike at dusk with his daughter, in front of Puzhao Temple where the mummy used to ...

A man from Yangchun village riding his bike at dusk with his daughter, in front of Puzhao Temple where the mummy used to preside. A night watchman is blamed for its disappearance. Gilles Sabrie/1843 Magazine

These masters then ingested herbs that had poisonous properties to speed their demise; and preservative ones to begin the process of mummification from the inside out. Zhang Gong, with his botanical education, would have been particularly expert at this. The final stage was to adopt the lotus position and enter a deep meditative trance. The faithful believe these masters did not truly die, but entered a state of enlightenment in which they became living Buddhas.

For his final meditation, Zhang Gong chose a particularly auspicious spot near the village of Yangchun in Fujian province, in the uplands of south-eastern China. There, he moved into his final stage of existence, and was worshipped by villagers – until, 1000 years later, he disappeared.

In 1997, Carel Kools, a restorer of Asian art and antiquities in Amsterdam, was sent a shabby, life-sized statue of a Buddha in the lotus position. “The statue came to me in a really bad state,” he says. “There was lots of damage from insects.” Attached to the base of the statue were two planks that were also in poor condition. “So we removed the planks he was sitting on and discovered these linen rolls.”

Kools took out the rolls – one of which is more of a cushion – peered inside the statue and found himself staring at the remains of a human being: “I was looking straight at the underside of his legs.”

He rang the collector who had commissioned him, an architect by the name of Oscar van Overeem. “I was abroad,” Van Overeem recalls. “[Kools] said: ‘Oscar, believe it or not, the statue is no statue. It’s a mummy.’ I said: ‘Carel. You should drink better wine. Don’t tease me.’ I couldn’t believe it.”

In 2015, the statue containing the mummy went on show in Budapest, setting off the current row as it was recognised.

In 2015, the statue containing the mummy went on show in Budapest, setting off the current row as it was recognised. Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

On July 14, a judge in Amsterdam will embark on the unenviable task of deciding whether these two mummies are one and the same. Lawyers representing the inhabitants of Yangchun contend that the mummy that ended up in Kools’s workshop is the one stolen from their village temple two decades earlier and that it contains the remains of Zhang Gong. They are also expected to argue that Van Overeem cannot legally own a corpse.

Counsel for the Dutch collector will counter that numerous museums and private collectors own mummies and Van Overeem’s is in any case not the one stolen from Yangchun; that this is a case of mistaken identity, one that has become a nightmare for their client.

At stake in this bizarre affair is possession of an object said to be worth tens of millions of dollars. The dispute over its ownership has already had an impact on relations between China and the Netherlands at the highest level, and has also highlighted an important change in Beijing’s official policy towards the recovery of millions of cultural artefacts that have been removed from China, by sale or by theft, down the centuries.

Hoping and praying

Visitors come to pray at the main hall of Yangchun Temple. On the altar stand two statues, the right one is a poor ...

Visitors come to pray at the main hall of Yangchun Temple. On the altar stand two statues, the right one is a poor replica of the 1000 years old Buddha that has gone missing, believed stolen in 1995. Gilles Sabrie/1843

As sunset drew near on a cool March evening, the scent of burning firewood hung in the air over Yangchun, mingling with that of family suppers being cooked. Traffic along the village’s main road consisted mostly of waddling ducks, scurrying chickens and small children with backpacks making their way home from school in a township several kilometres away.

The village is set amid high, thickly forested hills. Ever since a motorway reached the area in around 2010, the village has been a two-hour drive from the prosperous coastal city of Quanzhou. Yangchun is only four kilometres from the motorway exit. According to the local Communist Party secretary, Lin Kaiwang, about 1800 people live in the village and most, like him, are called Lin.

Yangchun has the mish-mash of architectural styles that China’s precipitous economic development has produced. Some of the villagers live in grand, well-kept courtyard houses built of grey brick with elegant roofs of high-quality slate tiles. But there are also more modest houses of red brick or wood, and crude three- and five-storey blocks made of bare cement. Some of the houses are clad in garish yellow or pink tiles. One is adorned with Corinthian columns.

Fir trees, which supply highly prized timber for construction, are the commonest vegetation in the area. But the key to Yangchun’s recent – and still relative – prosperity is tea. The bushes in the terraced fields around the village yield three crops a year of a variety known as Tieguanyin, a renowned Oolong tea midway between black and green that is ubiquitous in village homes.

Inhabitants of Yangchun in China contend that this mummy is the same one stolen from their village temple in 1995 and ...

Inhabitants of Yangchun in China contend that this mummy is the same one stolen from their village temple in 1995 and that it contains the remains of Buddhist master Zhang Gong. Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

The standard tea-making kit includes a kettle, a pot for brewing tea and a bowl into which the cups are dipped in and out of water using purpose-made tongs to rinse and warm them. The tea is served in small cups which are constantly refilled.

The centre of village life – both physical and spiritual – is the Puzhao Temple. During the day, people gather in the square in front of the temple, or on its steps, sitting and chatting. At night, loudspeakers often blare out music for the group dancing that is popular in villages and cities all over China.

The fir-wood pillars and walls of the temple are hung with vertical red scrolls bearing ink-brush calligraphy on Buddhist themes. Strung across the front of the building is the kind of horizontal red banner with yellow characters on which political slogans often appear. On this one, however, the message reads: “Hoping and praying that the Zhang Gong bodhisattva mummy returns soon to its native home!”

Theft of a relic

A CT scan reveals the mummy inside the statue of Buddha.

A CT scan reveals the mummy inside the statue of Buddha. Supplied

The mummy’s survival through centuries of Chinese political turmoil is testament to the villagers’ love for it. It survived even Mao Zedong’s exhortation during the Cultural Revolution to “Smash the Four Olds” – customs, culture, habits and ideas. Mao’s young cadres destroyed artworks all around the country, but Yangchun’s inhabitants took great risks to protect the mummy, moving it from house to house.

A night-watchman at the temple was supposed to keep it safe, but on the crucial night in December 1995 he seems, to no one’s great surprise, to have been asleep. According to Lin Wenyu, a local, the only people who noticed anything odd were some workers at a brick factory near the entrance to the village. They saw a van make its way very slowly over the bumpy road that ran through the village. Since motor vehicles of any kind were still a rarity in rural China, the workers were curious enough to peer into the back of the van as it crawled along.

“In the rear seat, they saw a seated figure covered with a blanket,” says Lin. “They assumed it was someone who was seriously ill and who was being taken away for medical treatment.”

The theft was a terrible blow to the community. According to Lin Lemiao, a retired teacher who has lived all of his 72 years in Yangchun, “You can’t imagine how distraught we all were. People were crying bitterly. Everyone was just miserable.”

Two decades later, the loss was still sharp enough that, when the villagers heard tell of a statue in an exhibition in Budapest that seemed to resemble their relic, they swung into action. They enlisted the help of the diaspora: one of the villagers, working as a cook in Hungary, was sent to see if the mummy was that of Zhang Gong.

When he reported back that it was, the villagers contacted Liu Yang, a lawyer in Beijing known for his work in recovering Chinese cultural property from abroad. He got hold of HIL, a firm of Dutch lawyers, which is bringing the case against Oscar van Overeem to court.

‘Hi. I’m Oscar’

An ebullient, remarkably youthful-looking 54-year-old, Van Overeem – “Hi. I’m Oscar” – arrived for what he said was his first in-depth interview since the start of the dispute wearing jeans, trainers and a sweatshirt. Round, wire-frame spectacles were perched at the end of his nose and his hair looked as if it had not enjoyed the attentions of a comb in weeks.

The villagers of Yangchen are convinced the seated statue belongs to them: "It is simply laughable to think that this is ...

The villagers of Yangchen are convinced the seated statue belongs to them: “It is simply laughable to think that this is not our mummy,” says one local official, given the people have visited the statue for years. Gilles Sabrie/1843 Magazine

The world in which Van Overeem moves is a long way from that of the villagers of Yangchun. An architect-cum-interior designer, he works at the top end of the market. He says he often takes on commissions from other collectors to create private galleries. A specialist in Japanese architecture, he has developed a style he describes as “very detailed, minimalist – and extremely luxurious”.

Warming to his subject, he produces a few of his designs: cool grey interiors intended to encourage visitors to focus on his clients’ possessions. Sculptures and other pricey artefacts are displayed to maximum advantage in softly – yet intensely – lit niches. Later, Van Overeem pulls out the plans of what he says is a penthouse he designed for a Gulf potentate. It looks about the size of a soccer pitch.

“… And this is his bedroom … and this is his bathroom … and, right next to it, the pool because he likes to swim just after he gets up. That bit’s for the sharks. So you see, he can …”

“Sharks?”

“Yes. The sheikh likes to swim alongside sharks. There’s a transparent barrier between the two halves of the pool, of course.”

Architecture is Van Overeem’s second career. He originally worked in graphic design and claims to have been among the first in the field to employ digital technology. By his mid-20s, he had earned enough to start collecting. His Chinese collection focuses on works produced before the end of the Tang dynasty at the start of the tenth century.

Van Overeem’s principal agent was a dealer and collector he names as Benny Rustenburg, now retired and living in the Philippines: “a hippy type”, but “a very good businessman”. Rustenburg had a storage facility in Amsterdam, and it was there, in late 1995, Van Overeem says, that he first saw the seated Buddha that was going to change his life.

He says that Rustenburg had bought it in Hong Kong at the end of 1994 or the beginning of 1995, and that it had been shipped to Amsterdam in mid-1995 – several months before Zhang Gong’s mummy disappeared from Yangchun.

The village of Yangchun, in Fujian, displays all the architectural styles of China's economic development. Around 1800 ...

The village of Yangchun, in Fujian, displays all the architectural styles of China’s economic development. Around 1800 people live there, and most of them are called Lin. Gilles Sabrie/1843 Magazine

Van Overeem was initially not interested in buying the statue. It was gold. “And I don’t like golden statues,” he says in a voice infused with distaste. It was damaged and adorned with dragon motifs that seemed to date it to the Ming dynasty, which was founded almost five centuries after the latest period in which Van Overeem had until then shown an interest. “I said, ‘It’s not my cup of tea.'”

To keep stock moving, retailers will sometimes bundle objects they know their customers want with others they want less – or not at all. According to Van Overeem, that is what Rustenburg – “the smartass”, as he ruefully calls the dealer – did with the sitting Buddha. He added it to “a few beautiful terracotta objects” that he knew his young client would love to own.

Van Overeem says he sent the statue, as he believed it to be, to his restorer, Carel Kools, who did not get around to tackling it until early 1997. After discovering that it was in fact a mummy, Kools suggested it be X-rayed. He had a second job at the time working in a hospital and could arrange for access to the radiography department out of normal hours.

‘We felt like Indiana Jones’

“So what I did was, during the night – this is a movie, eh? – I put the mummy in my car, in the front seat, put a cloth over him and put a seat belt on him,” says Van Overeem. “We drove to the hospital. There, he was put in a wheelchair and we pushed him, covered up, to the X-ray department. We felt like Indiana Jones.”

The X-rays showed there was a more or less complete skeleton inside (it was later discovered that the internal organs had all been removed, along with some finger bones which Van Overeem thinks were taken as relics). Kools then took a sample from the linen cushion and had it carbon-tested. The results dated the cushion to the 13th century – 300 years before the decorations on the casing of the mummy.

“Then we tested the mummy itself – and then we were really confused,” says Van Overeem. The body was at least 100 years older than the cushion. It was from the Song dynasty. But, as an expert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York subsequently explained, it was not uncommon for mummies to have things added to them in later centuries. In this case, a cushion had been thoughtfully placed under the master’s behind and the casing had been gilded and redecorated. But the casing itself and the body inside were about 1000 years old. It was the stuff of collectors’ dreams.

“A Ming statue can [fetch] nowadays, let’s say, between €20,000 ($30,400) and €100,000,” says Van Overeem. “But a Song-dynasty statue? Even in those days, millions.” The least appreciated item in a job lot had turned out to be worth a fortune: his gaudy Ming statue was actually “the rarest of the rarest”.

The argument over the ownership of the Buddha statue has already had an impact on relations between China and the ...

The argument over the ownership of the Buddha statue has already had an impact on relations between China and the Netherlands. Around 10 million Chinese objects are in foreign museums and collections. Supplied

For 18 years, the dream remained intact. Van Overeem says he turned away an offer of $US20 million. But, after he lent the mummy to the exhibition in Budapest, his association with it became increasingly problematic.

International claims

Faced with the villagers’ claim that the mummy had been stolen, the exhibition organisers asked him to withdraw it. Overnight, Van Overeem went from being a respected collector to an alleged recipient of stolen goods (though, as he points out, if he had suspected the mummy was stolen, he would hardly have allowed it to be exhibited for all the world to see). Suddenly, he was “that rich bastard in Holland” who was depriving the poor inhabitants of Yangchun of their beloved holy man and, he says, his architectural practice suffered as a result.

Dutch police came to interview him, apparently at the request of their Chinese counterparts. And while abroad on business, he received a call from the Dutch foreign ministry asking him to come to The Hague the moment he landed back in Holland.

“I thought I might be arrested at the airport,” says Van Overeem.

He wasn’t, but was asked to explain the affair to an annoyed Dutch government. The prime minister, it turned out, had been on a visit to Beijing and had been embarrassingly wrong-footed when his opposite number started quizzing him about the return of a mummy of which he knew nothing. The mummy had become a smaller, slightly gruesome, Chinese version of the Elgin marbles: an emblem of the despoliation of Chinese culture by rapacious foreigners.

According to the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, there are around 10 million Chinese objects in foreign museums and collections. Some were produced specifically for export; some were valuable cultural objects that were sold; some were looted.

The most notorious episode was the sacking by the British and French in 1860 of Beijing’s magnificent Old Summer Palace. According to the Chinese, 23,000 items plundered during that orgy of destruction and pillage at the end of the second opium war are in the British Museum.

Not that the Chinese themselves are free of responsibility. After the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, officials helped themselves to treasures from the Imperial Palace that were then sold abroad.

The Cultural Revolution was a disaster – even more for Tibet’s heritage than for China’s. “The Red Guards were heavily involved in programmatic looting and export,” says Sam Hardy, an expert on the illegal trade in art and antiquities at Univer­sity College London. “China trafficked so much cultural property from Tibet that it flooded the markets of Hong Kong and Tokyo.”

The clearance of areas for major infrastructure projects like the Three Gorges Dam also saw the wholesale looting of cultural artefacts.

But China’s opening to the world has gone hand-in-hand with what Hardy calls “huge interest in the recovery of looted antiquities, which is tied up with identity, pride and power”.

‘State operation’

For several years, it was fashionable for rich individuals to acquire Chinese objects from abroad so that they could enhance their standing by donating them to museums. One of the most intriguing questions concerns responsibility for a string of apparent “thefts to order” of items seized from the Old Summer Palace. Beginning in 2010, museums in Sweden, Norway, Britain and France were targeted. Hardy says that the robberies may have been commissioned by private collectors who either intended to keep the artefacts for themselves or to donate them to the state at some point in the future – but he does not rule out the possibility that they are part of a “state operation”.

The Chinese government has certainly expressed a growing interest in the country’s cultural heritage. In 2014, President Xi Jinping signalled a radical change in the Communist Party’s view of China’s past when he welcomed traditional culture as a “foundation for China to compete in the world”. Since then, the authorities, in particular the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, have become increasingly involved in the recovery of historical artefacts.

That the government raised the case of the mummy during a state visit shows how concerned it is about this case. Who is financing it is not clear. Liu Yang says he is working pro bono: “I haven’t taken any money from the people in Yangchun …They are peasants of very modest means – mountain villagers. Maybe, if we succeed in getting [the mummy] back, they’ll think about giving me something. But it’s not important.” Jan Holthuis of HIL, the Dutch lawyers’ firm, will not say who is paying them.

The government has also changed its line on accepting cultural objects as gifts. According to Liu, the authorities “no longer encourage rich Chinese to buy things back and donate them, because they’re afraid it creates a market, and as the prices go up it will be harder and harder to find buyers like that. It’s not seen as a good way to handle things” – as Van Overeem was to discover.

The villagers are unanimous in their certainty that the mummy is theirs.

“When I was small and went to worship Zhang Gong, that base was at eye-level for me and the photos look exactly the same,” says Lin Wenyu.

“Just from the pictures we saw from the exhibition in Hungary, we knew instantly,” says Lin Lemiao, the retired teacher. “There can be no doubt that [the mummy] is ours.”

Lin Qizhou, a local official, says: “It is simply laughable to think that this is not our mummy. All the people here have been visiting the temple for their entire lives, and we all just know. It is not even open to debate.” It will, however, be open to debate in the Dutch court, which will be looking for hard evidence.

No receipt

Van Overeem’s biggest handicap is that he has no receipt from Benny Rustenburg to back his version of how he acquired the mummy. “Everybody says, like, ‘Can you give me proof?’ From 20 years ago?” he protests. “Come on! I always paid the man cash or I paid him [by bank transfer] to Hong Kong.”

Nor, crucially, can Van Overeem expect corroboration from the dealer. “He’s not willing to say anything.” A Benny Rustenburg living in the Philippines has a profile on LinkedIn in which he describes himself as retired from “Benny Art”; but neither online inquiries nor shoe-leather in Manila succeeded in raising him.

The villagers are also short of hard evidence. Local officials say old photos of the mummy from before the theft are “no longer here”; Yangchun’s genealogical records, which are said to prove the link with Zhang Gong, are “in storage”, though presumably they can be extracted if they are helpful to the case.

The strongest evidence in the villagers’ favour is the round, flat cushion found underneath the mummy, of which they have photographs. On the rim there is writing in ancient Chinese characters. Some are illegible, but the key passages read as follows: “Since patriarch Zhang Gong Liuquan [a term denoting the entire body] from the Puzhao Temple manifested himself, years passed by which were not recorded. Since [missing characters] this hall…hardly any people visited, no incense rose and disasters occurred. The leaders of the village, Lin Zhangxin and Lin Shixing, touched the hearts of the villagers to raise money…to remodel and redecorate the valuable statue of the patriarch.”

Puzhao – “universal illumination” – is a popular name for Buddhist temples in China, so is little help in identifying the statue’s origins; but two things link the cushion to Yangchun. First, the village leaders who organised the whip-round to refurbish the mummy were both called Lin; second, and more convincing (since Lin is one of the most common surnames in China), Zhang Gong is referred to by name.

For James Robson, a Harvard professor and expert on Chinese Buddhism, this represents “a pretty tight connection”, though Van Overeem argues that monasteries often “sneakily attributed the identity of a renowned Buddhist master to a different preserved corpse” to enhance their standing and their revenues.

The sophisticated iconography on the casing, which includes elements from the Tantric tradition of Buddhism and “a secret character rendered in an unusual variant of the sacred Siddham script from India” makes a case, he says, for the mummy being from an important monastery rather than an obscure upland village. This might seem like special pleading but for two pieces of evidence in Van Overeem’s favour.

Distinguishing characteristics

Back in early 2015, the villagers told reporters, both Chinese and foreign, that Zhang Gong’s mummy had two distinguishing characteristics. The first was a hole between the thumb and index finger of the Buddha’s left hand, said to have been made in the 1950s by an official who was sceptical of the villagers’ claim that the statue contained a mummy and wanted to feel inside. A news agency report quoted and named a man who said he had filled in the hole in the 1980s.

The mummy’s other unique feature was a wobbly neck: the villagers took it out of the temple on special occasions to process around Yangchun and on one occasion it had hit a staircase. Van Overeem says, however, that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan in January found no evidence of a repaired hole in either hand while the X-rays had already shown that the corpse inside his statue was fitted with a steel rod running from the forehead over the back of the head and down the spine. “If there is one thing stable about this mummy, then it’s his neck,” he says.

While holding to his view that “my mummy is not their mummy,” Van Overeem says he has always sought a compromise. After he was summoned to the foreign ministry, Dutch officials arranged for him to meet Chinese diplomats in the Netherlands who in turn involved the sach. Van Overeem says he worked for months on a solution, even travelling to China to meet a rich benefactor who was ready to buy the mummy in order to gift it to the state. But a sach official scotched the deal, telling Van Overeem flatly the Chinese authorities did not accept donations. “I was furious,” he says.

In November 2015, Van Overeem announced that talks had broken down and that he would look seriously at offers he had received for the mummy. He then came into contact with a “big collector specialising in Buddhist sculptures: very powerful, very rich”, who proposed that, instead of selling the mummy, Van Overeem should swap it for sculptures in his collection.

“Within one hour, we were done.” The new owner of the mummy, he says, intends to remain anonymous and keep the mummy’s location secret, so “I cannot deliver that statue, no matter what.”

Quite how the judge – and the Chinese authorities – will react to that remains to be seen. But as James Robson says, the affair “seems to have a life that keeps going … like the mummy itself.”

© 2017. The Economist Newspaper Limited. All rights reserved. From 1843 magazine, published under licence. The original article can be found on 1843magazine.com/ John Hooper is a correspondent for The Economist based in Europe; Ted Plafker is a correspondent for The Economist based in Beijing. Additional reporting by Sacha Nauta

Millions at stake as Chinese villagers take collector to court over “man in the Buddha”

章公祖师

Religious artefact: The discovery of a body inside an ancient Buddha has triggered cultural controversy and an ...

Religious artefact: The discovery of a body inside an ancient Buddha has triggered cultural controversy and an international dispute. Supplied

by John Hooper and Ted PlafkerAround the time that William of Normandy was conquering England, the Buddhist master Zhang Qisan decided it was time to die. Or rather, he felt it was time to begin the next stage of his existence by transforming himself into a living mummy.

Economist

http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/the-buddha-in-question-20170530-gwgulj