Restoration of 800-year-old Buddha statue in Chongqing completed

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http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20150614000036&cid=1104

Restoration of 800-year-old Buddha statue in Chongqing completed

  • Xinhua
  • 2015-06-14



The Buddha statue before and after the restoration, June 13. (Photo/Xinhua)

Chinese experts have completed the restoration of a famous 800-year-old Buddha statue after seven years of work.

Visitors can see the new appearance of the "Qianshou Guanyin," a statue with 1,000 hands, in Dazu county in southwestern China's Chongqing municipality. The restoration program began in 2008 and cost about 60 million yuan (US$9.8 million).

Workers restored 830 hands and 227 instruments using one million gold foils, consolidating the dated pieces of the statue and thoroughly cleaning it.

It is the largest restoration project on the statue, which has undergone repairs at least four times in history.

The project is expected to help the Qianshou Guanyin keep glowing for at least 50 years, said Zhan Changfa, a researcher of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, who is in charge of the project.

The statue, 7.7 meters high and 12.5 meters wide, was carved during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 CE). It is a masterpiece among thousands of individual rock carvings in the grottoes in Dazu. The carvings date back as early as the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). They were listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1999.

Over the centuries, the sculpture's color had faded, some of the gold foil had peeled off and cracks appeared.

Heritage authorities will continue to monitor the statue's condition and take timely measures to prevent damage and pass its beauty to the next 800 years, said Tong Mingkang, deputy head of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, at a ceremony marking the completion of restoration on Saturday.
 

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Aung Sang Suu Kyi visiting a Beijing temple



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