Oct. 9 (UPI) — A stolen calligraphy scroll by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong believed to be worth nearly $300 million was found cut in half.
The scroll had been stolen from the home of well-known collector Fu Chunxiao last month. Three men made off with a haul of antique stamps copper coins and other pieces of calligraphy by Mao worth an estimated $645 million in total.
Police said the damaged scroll, which featured stanzas of poetry handwritten by Mao, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, was the most expensive item in the haul.
“It was heartbreaking to see it be torn into two pieces,” Fu told the South China Morning Post. “It will definitely affect its value but the impact remains to be seen.”
Three people were arrested in connection with the stolen scroll, including one of the suspected burglars, a friend accused of housing him and a buyer who purchased it for a few hundred dollars believing it was counterfeit.
Superintendent Tony Ho Chun-tung of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau said the scroll was cut into two pieces because it was deemed too long to place in a frame.
Fu said he planned to donate the scroll before it was stolen, adding he was not sure when he would get it back.
“I have not made a decision as to how to deal with it [and won’t] until I get it back,” he said.