China has demanded an American man be “severely punished” after he was alleged to have stolen a thumb from a terracotta warrior after taking a selfie with the statue while it was on display at a museum in the US.
Chinese authorities have also demanded compensation for the £3.2 million exhibit, which was on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
Reports said that Michael Rohana, aged 24, from the state of Delaware, was attending an ‘ugly Christmas jumper party’ at the institute on Decemeber 21 last year when he made his way into the museum’s special exhibit, Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor.
China’s Xinhua news agency, citing the FBI, said Rohana “used a cellular telephone as a flashlight, looked at various exhibits displayed in the then-closed showroom, stepped up onto a platform supporting one of the statues, and took a selfie with it”.
“Rohana, according to the affidavit, put his hand on the left hand of the statue, appeared to break something off from the Calvaryman’s left hand and put it in his pocket, and then left.”
Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre, which arranged for the loan of 10 of the statues, “strongly condemned” the theft, according to a report in the Beijing Youth Daily.