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Chinese farmer finds 2000-yr-old relic, gets reward of $3330

A 47-year-old Chinese farmer, who found a 2,000-year-old musical instrument, has been rewarded with $3330, the highest monetary reward ever given to a person for voluntarily handing over cultural relics.

Zhang Zhilin, who hails from central China’s Hunan Province, found a hollow object about 30 centimetres long and weighing 1 kilogramme which resembled a spade with decorations of dots and braid patterns. “Historical artifacts were unearthed in my town in the 1950s and 1990s. Villagers believed I’d come across another treasure,” Zhang said.

He also remembered how his father found a similar object 20 years ago. Having no idea about what it might be, Zhang senior left it to his neighbour, who sold it for 8 yuan (USD 1.2) to a recycling station. But Zhang junior had always suspected the item was more significant than scrap, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. So last month, he took some pictures of the “spade” and went to the city’s cultural relics bureau. “I showed them the pictures and said it looked like something antique,” he said. 

Bureau staff immediately followed Zhang to his home for an examination. Experts spent weeks examining the find before they were convinced of its age and what it was. “The bronze was then named after a very similar piece discovered earlier in the area and collected by the Xiangxi Museum. They are both from chimes dating back to the Warring States Period (447-221 BC),” Zhang Feng, head of the cultural relics bureau said.

A Chinese chime is like a drum set made of bronze. When hit with a wooden hammer, the oblate bells in different sizes hanging on a frame could make different tones. Zhang was given 20,000 yuan (USD 3330) and a certificate of honour for voluntarily reporting and handing over the treasure. The 20,000 yuan is one of the highest ever such rewards, intended to encourage people to hand in historical artifacts to authorities, the Jishou cultural relics bureau said.
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