September 23, 2013 11:28
A royal seal with a knob in the shape of a turtle that belonged to Queen Munjeong of the Chosun Dynasty in the mid-16th century was smuggled out of the country by U.S. soldiers during the 1950-53 Korean War.
Since then, the seal has been kept by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, but on Thursday the museum promised to return it to Korea -- 60 years after it was stolen. The museum said that its officials will meet with their Korean counterparts as soon as possible to discuss the details of when and how the seal will be returned.
The move was largely brought about by a team that includes Democratic Party lawmaker An Min-suk and the Buddhist monk Hye Moon. "This event marks a milestone for other royal seals, and even other cultural artifacts that have been stolen from Korea," said the team's spokesman.
U.S. soldiers are suspected of stealing 50 royal seals during the Korean War, only four of which have since been returned. Once the royal seal in the Los Angeles museum is back on home soil, the Korean team plans to send a copy of it to the museum.
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