Edition 1458
13 January 2018
Edition: 1458

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Rare Chinese drum stolen from Algarve villa garden

by Carrie-Marie Bratley, in Algarve · 11-01-2018 13:47:00 · 0 Comments

A four-figure reward is being offered by a British couple after a centuries-old family heirloom believed to be a Chinese temple drum was stolen from the garden patio of their Algarve villa.

Rare Chinese drum stolen from Algarve villa garden

The historic artefact had been in the Allen family since the 1880’s after being acquired by the current owner’s great-great-grandfather, Clement Francis Romilly Allen, a British Consul in China and author of The Book of Chinese Poetry.
Having once taken pride of place in the Consul’s home after he found it “sticking out of a river”, the large, plain metal drum was shipped halfway around the world, spending decades in the family’s properties in the UK before being transported by lorry to Portugal.
James and May Allen were away visiting their daughter in Spain when the 200-kilogram drum was taken, and the rest of the villa was left untouched.
“My parents had it in their conservatory for at least fifty years”, Mr. Allen recalled.
The unusual object had sat on the terrace of the Allen’s Algarve villa, near Silves, for the past 10 years before being stolen sometime between Christmas and New Year.
“We don’t know its exact value, but to us it’s priceless. It’s a family heirloom. We don’t know why anyone else would want it”, Mr. Allen told The Portugal News.
While the exact origins and purpose of the ancient drum are not known, a scrap book kept by Mr. Allen indicates it could have been some form of ceremonial or war drum.
The couple were using it as an outdoor coffee table when it was taken.
“We have an interesting amount of historical evidence available [on it] and we are very upset it has been stolen.
“If they were looking for scrap metal there are so many other things outside they could have taken”, Mr. Allen mused, adding, “it would have taken at least two people to move it.”
The couple is now offering a substantial reward for the drum returned intact. Anyone with information on the drum should email: jamesallen@sapo.pt.

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Edition 1458
13 January 2018
Edition: 1458

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter