Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ancient Chinese Buddha Statues: Choked by Soot

The Yungang Grottoes in northern China, which contain thousands of Buddhist statues from the 5th and 6th centuries, are suffering today from pollution.

But according to this fascinating story in the New York Times, Chinese officials and preservationists have started to work on restoring them and their efforts "could become a model for saving antiquities at other sites."  They have done two things--restored the statues and shut down nearby coal mines.

The Times says that restoration efforts began in the 1990's in an effort to get a UNESCO World Heritage designation which came in 2002.

Officials are also developing digital recordings of all the statues. "Those would help with construction of three-dimensional renderings of the caves that visitors and scholars can view," notes the New York Times.

Students might find both the article and the UNESCO site about the caves interesting.

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