China Export Restrictions and the Trade of Cultural Relics

Cultural objects and China export restrictions

Export forbidden:

  1. Antiques made 1911 or earlier
  2. Cultural products of minorities made 1949 or earlier
  3. Export restrictions are mainly meant for genuine antiques -- however replicas that have research value or a high artistic value can also be restricted.
  4. If the export is allowed but another government department has other related regulations regarding prohibited items of export, those regulations will be followed.

(3) above means that the export of any cultural item can be prohibited if the government thinks it has any high cultural or research value in view to craftsmanship, etc., even if it is more recently made.
(4) means that if you have an antique item that would be permitted according to antique export regulations, but another government department has restrictions (for example export restrictions on a type of wood, metal or other material), then an item cannot be exported even if it were allowed in view to the antique export regulations.

With other words, you can never be completely sure that you can export an antique craft or art object. And, apparently there have been cases where antiques less than 100 years old were not allowed out, simply because their age and craftsmanship resembled those of antiques from 100 years ago.

There are exceptions to the above, though. Anything that has a wax seal (or jianding seal) from one of the 'cultural relic stores'(Chinese: Wenwuguan) may be exported, even if it is over 100 years old. Obviously, they let you only export items that are plenty, or have little historical, cultural or artistic value.

Follow-up notice:
(2012) There are rumours that now even vintage items up to 1949 may not be permitted for export.

From China Export Restrictions to Home