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September 14, 2023

Museum theft at the Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst theft in Köln (Cologne), Germany

During the night, between September 12th and 13th, yet another museum theft involving Chinese objects of porcelain occurred at the Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst theft in Köln (Cologne), Germany.  Around midnight, two burglars, one carrying a grey backpack, accessed the museum and one of the exhibition rooms after prying open a glazed side window facing Universitätsstrasse.  Once inside, the culprits made off with a total of nine objects from the museum's display cases, including porcelain vases, plates and jars dating from the the 16th to 19th century.  The works are believed to be worth more than 1 million euros. 

The city of Cologne has published photos of the nine rare objects taken during the incident.  They are: 

A Qing-Dynastie, Yongzheng-Period (1723-1735) Chinese Fencai rose coral-ground bowl with a Jiaqing seal mark of the period;

A large dish with dragon and phoenix design, 1 of 2, China, Jingdezhen kiln, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng period, (1723-1735);

A rare Ming Dynasty (1573-1619) Wucai "Phoenix" Double Gourd form Wall Vase depicting a pair of phoenix in flight amid ruyi-shaped clouds below a band of downward plantain leaves;

A Fencai Imperial Qing Dynasty (1796-1820) vase with Jiaqing mark and period;

A very rare Ming Dynasty (1521-1567) yellow-ground and iron-red decorated 'Dragon' jar, mark and period of Jiajing;

A porcelain, enamel dish with dragons and clouds, China, Imperial Porcelain Factory, Jingdezhen, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period (1662-1722);

A Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period (1736-1795) lotus pot; (NB The lid was left behind. )

A Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period (1736-1795) yellow-glazed nine dragon vase;

and an early 16th century (1506-1521), Ming Dynasty porcelain plate with Zhengde mark and period.

One of an ongoing series of thefts of this type, another was reported on the 14th of February at the Keramiekmuseum Princessehof in Leeuwarden.  In that incident, which also occurred in the early morning hours, the burglar, or burglars, entered the museum through its roof and stole 11 rare Chinese ceramics from the first floor. 

Outside the museum, investigators recovered the shards of seven objects, apparent broken as the culprits, fled the scene. Four of these pieces remain missing.