Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

China tries to stop Paris auction


China has launched a legal bid to stop the sale of two bronze statues at an auction of Yves Saint Laurent's private art collection.

Beijing says the sculptures, a rabbit's head and a rat's head, were plundered by British and French forces during the Second Opium War in 1860 and should be in a museum.

The animal heads represent symbols in the Chinese zodiac, and used to adorn a fountain built for the Emperor Qianglong.


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