ZHOU Yanqun 周燕群
Shanghai Museum

Issues in Antiquities Loans

Nowadays, loans between museums for exhibitions have become a common practice worldwide. In the last 5 years, the Shanghai Museum organized and participated in over 30 loan exhibitions abroad and organized and held 25 loan exhibitions from home and abroad. To assure the success of the loans, curators and organizers should pay special attention to some key issues of them.

For loans from China: The borrower should notice the regulation issued by the SACH that the total number and proportion of top-grade pieces of a loan is strictly limited. Endangered species need an additional approval for traveling, the application of which takes about two months. Provenance certificate is required for the pieces shown together with the loans from China. An exhibition with loans from more than two Chinese museums, the application should be made by an appointed coordinator on behalf of all the participants in China. Loan application documents include the exhibition proposal or invitation, exhibition outline and exhibition venue facilities report in addition to the agreement between the lender and borrower.

For loans to China: All Chinese antiquities loan to China for exhibition need a provenance certificate. There is no free of capture & seizure clause in our State Law so far, a Letter of Guarantee signed by the SACH can be provided if it can be accepted.

From our experience, medium-sized thematic exhibition on a mutual exchange basis between museums is a good way to solve heavy financial problem and can also achieve good social effect.