15 artworks stolen from Chinese museum south of Paris

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Monday, March 2, 2015

PARIS -- French cultural officials say 15 pieces of art have been stolen from a Chinese museum south of Paris, including a replica crown of the King of Siam given to France's emperor in the mid-19th century.

The Culture Ministry says the break-in before dawn Sunday at the Chinese Museum at Fontainebleau Castle was over in less than seven minutes.

Police are investigating.

Castle spokesman Alexis de Kermel said he had no estimation of the objects' value. He called them "priceless" and the master works of the museum.

The ministry said the stolen objects were assembled by Empress Eugenie, the wife of French Emperor Napoleon III, for her Chinese museum in 1863. The crown was donated by the ambassadors of Siam, now Thailand, during their official visit to France two years earlier.