Winning Bid On Yves Saint Laurent's Bronzes Was A Protest Not A Promise of Payment
The Qing bronzes had been severed from a water clock by British and French troops from the Summer Palace in 1860 and many Chinese people saw the bronzes as stolen goods up for sale even though the bronze heads have been bought and sold multiple times since then. The Chinese government protested the sale but the French government ruled that the sale could go forward. According to an article on Forbes Pierre Berge had said he would give back the sculptures for free if Tibet is made free, an offer which did not sit well with the Chinese government.
Bloomberg quotes Christie's Hong Kong-based spokeswoman Kate Malin as saying that the auction house "would work with the buyer and vendor to come up with a solution." Christie's could sue Cai Mingchao to get the money but he is adamant that he will not be paying.