It was unearthed in 2006 and dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). "It was a piece of folk art," said Li Jianli, deputy director of the museum. "The figure was slender, so we can deduce that it was from the early Tang period." Formerly professor of art at Hebei Normal University, Guo Peng, first saw the statue at an exhibition in 2013 and was impressed, state-run agency reported.
Guo found the head with a Japanese collector, recognising that it was of the same material as the body. After negotiations, he bought the head in October 2014, for a sum he declined to disclose. Luo Xiangjun, director of the museum is glad to have the head back.
"In the past centuries, lots of cultural relics were lost overseas," Xiangjun said. "Thanks to patriotic buyers who make every effort to bring them back so that the younger generations can see them." He said that the head and the body were probably separated in late Tang period, when Buddhists were persecuted.

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