Artefacts: Taking heads

THEY have fired diplomatic rows and auctions reaching as high as $40m. They have inspired an exhibit by dissident artist Ai Weiwei, as well as a tepid action film starring that born-again Chinese patriot by way of Hong Kong, Jackie Chan. They were even once cheekily offered up in exchange for Tibet. Now the bronze heads of a rat and a rabbit—part of a collection of 12 Chinese-zodiacal figures looted when foreign troops burned the Yuanmingyuan imperial gardens outside Beijing in 1860—are coming home at last.