Damaged Terracotta Army statue to be repaired by Chinese experts

Violet Powell
February 20, 2018

The incident occurred on December 21 but museum staff didn't notice the missing thumb until January 8.

Delaware-resident Michael Rohana was arrested last week, USA officials said, accused of stealing the thumb in December during an ugly sweater party hosted by the museum.

The terracotta army is a group of life-sized statues depicting the armies of the first Emperor of China that were buried with him in 210 BCE.

The 24-year-old allegedly touched the left hand of the statue and is said to have broken off a piece, pocketed it and left. Wearing a green sweater and a Phillies hat, Rohana allegedly sneaked into the closed exhibit and snapped a few selfies with the terracotta statue, which is valued at $4.5 million.

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

"Can we put a bullet-proof glass over these national treasures when they are on an overseas exhibition", another asked.

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The director of China's Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre Wu Haiyun "strongly condemned" the Franklin Institute for being "careless" with the statues.

China is planning to send "two experts to the USA to assess the damage and fix the statue with the recovered thumb", says BBC.

10 such warriors were rented for an exhibition in the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.

The statues were built by the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang, who died in 210BCE, in the belief they would protect him in the afterlife. The sneaky vandal made a decision to capture a moment with one of the ancient statues by taking a selfie - along with one of its stone digits, as a keepsake.

When Archer interviewed Rohana at his family's home on Jan 13, Rohana led the agent to his bedroom where the stolen thumb was in a desk drawer, according to the affidavit. The special exhibit will run through March 4th. He was later released on bail.

The damaged statue, known as the "Cavalryman" and dating back to 210 and 209 BCE, is one of ten terracotta warrior statues now on display in the "Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor" exhibit, which opened on September 30 at the Franklin Institute. On the night in question, standard closing procedures were not followed by the Institute's external security contractor, Allied Universal.

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