Best relic restorations get top marks from China

Ancient, thousand-armed Avalokitesvara (Guanyin) in Dazu, Chongquing municipality before (left) and after (right) restoration.

A restoration is more than a new coat of paint to freshen up a relic’s appearance.
This was underlined in China’s third list of 10 best cultural relic restoration projects – including the thousand-armed Avalokitesvara (Guanyin) in Dazu, Chongqing municipality – recently released by a government agency.
On International Day on Monuments and Sites, the Chinese Committee for the International Council on Monuments and Sites, and China Cultural Relic News, affiliated to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, holds that restoration on cultural relic sites should go beyond regular construction.
The rehabilitation should use more scientific approaches and be treated more as academic research programs.
The 10 projects were chosen because they exemplified efforts to study how to preserve original materials and facades of the relics during restoration.
New issues to be addressed in today’s restoration projects include how to comprehensively improve surrounding environments to avoid further damage to old buildings.
Other restoration projects on the list include Sansu Memorial Temple in Meishan City in Sichuan province, Chen’s Great Family Temple, in Shunde, Guangdong province, and No. 98 Grotto in Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, Gansu province.