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Priceless Chinese artefacts stolen from Fontainebleau chateau

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Chinese museum of Empress Eugenie, Fontainebleau chateau. Château de Fontainebleau

Fifteen chinese artefacts were lifted from Fontainebleau chateau - south of Paris - early on Monday morning.


Thieves broke into one of the most secure parts of Fontainebleau chateau and made off with unique and priceless Chinese artefacts.

The items "were among the most beautiful items in the museum", said chateau manager, Jean-François Hebert.

They were kept in the Chinese museum of the chateau where Empress Eugénie collected precious pieces in 1863.

Among the stolen items was the crown of the King of Siam, an item presented to the Emperor Napoleon III during a visit by the Siamese ambassador, said the French culture ministry.

A Tibetan mandala and a Chinese chimera with cloisonné enamel dating from the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) were also among the missing treasure trove.

"We think they (the thieves) were very determined and knew exactly what they were looking for and worked in a very professional manner" said Hebert, as it took them only seven minutes to carry out the heist.