A calligraphy scroll penned by the infamous Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong has been discovered in Hong Kong, cut in half.
The scroll, with a reported value of US$300 million is understood to have been stolen in a burglary at the home of a renowned collector of Chinese art in the city named Fu Chunxiao in early September. Mr. Fu was in China at the time of the heist.
Reports emerging after the discovery claim the scroll had been sold after being stolen, but then deemed as being too long at almost three metres in length, it was at some point cut into two pieces.
The scroll by the man history has judged responsible for the death of tens of millions of Chinese contained poetry written in Mao’s own hand although the fact that it has now been cut in two has “definitely affected” the value according to the collector.
No immediate indication on how the valuation of $300 million was reached has been made evident.
The thieves who took the scroll also stole collections of old Chinese copper coins, stamps and other examples of calligraphy by Mao.
In the days after the burglary, the collector claimed the missing items to be worth around US$645 million although this figure has not been independently verified.
Speaking in the wake of the recovery, local senior superintendent of the Hong Kong police, Tony Ho said: “Someone thought the calligraphy was too long….. and difficult to show and display. That’s why it was cut in half.”
Mr. Fu was somewhat more emotional, saying to a local newspaper “It was heartbreaking to see it be torn into two pieces,” and that “(It) will definitely affect its value but the impact remains to be seen.”