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However, all of the items were damaged and more than half those originally stolen are still missing.

The 18 items were recovered during a police investigation in Gloucestershire and have been subjected to extensive forensic examination before being returned to the museum.

They will now be sent to a conservation lab for assessment and repair, but Nicole Chiang, curator of the museum, said: “Despite the return of the objects, the burglary still causes a big gap in the museum’s collection which will be hard to mend.”

In April 2018, 48 pieces were stolen when four masked men smashed a first-f loor window and several display cabinets.

Items taken included a collection of small handling jades dating from the Yuan to the Qing periods, bamboo and bronze scholars’ objects plus a group of early Ming gold belt plaques.

Only one jade has been recovered. Anne Shepherd, chair of the museum’s trustees, said it is “extremely excited by the return” of the missing objects but it needs to “raise significant funds to repair them and rebuild the first-f loor galleries”.

Last week the museum launched a temporary exhibition, East Asian Life, which has been adapted from a permanent display originally shown on the first floor, containing many objects that survived the burglary. It runs until November 10.