The rat and rabbit heads from China's Yuanmingyuan, or Old Summer Palace, will be transferred to China as soon as this week. [Photo: Beijing Morning Post]
Two looted bronze animal head sculptures from China's Yuanmingyuan, or Old Summer Palace, have been transferred to China on June 25, the Beijing Morning Post reported.
The owner of the rabbit head and rat head, the French Pinault family, announced their decision to return the relics to China in the second half of this year, on April 26. However, following efforts from the Chinese side, the donation is reportedly now set to take place on June 28.
The most valuable relics looted from the Old Summer Palace, the two bronze figures, will be collected at the National Museum of China, said Liu Yang, of the Yuanmingyuan Academic Commission.
Twelve bronze animal head figures, along with several other treasures, were looted from Yuanmingyuan when the site was ransacked by French and British troops in 1860.
The rat and rabbit heads were auctioned by Christie's in Paris in 2009. Francois-Henri Pinault then bought the sculptures from the owner after the auction.
By the end of 2012, the ox, tiger, monkey, pig and horse heads had been brought back to the Chinese mainland and are being kept by The China Poly Group. The dragon head is reportedly in Taiwan, while the heads of snake, sheep, rooster, and dog remain missing.