Heroes of the past

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail chinadaily.com.cn, May 25, 2023
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With a long history and rich cultural splendors, ancient China provided the world with an uninterrupted linage of civilizations lasting for millennia that are still inspiring.

Thanks to cultural relics, the key events influenced the destiny of a dynasty, or breathtaking moments capturing people's daily happiness or, indeed, sullenness, seem to come to life in front of our very eyes.

Nonetheless, when we pay admire and in some cases are astounded by the relics, we can hardly neglect the fact that time has taken its toll on them, be it porcelain shards, fading murals or weedy roofs on ancient temples.

Fortunately, time also witnessed the dedication and diligence of those who painstakingly keep the past alive and relevant. Their devotion is often counted in generations. Behind the shining museum exhibits, these are the people who wipe the dust of ages from the artifacts, and bring a second life or existence to items that are silent observers of history.

These of course are cultural-relic conservators and restorers. Just like medical practitioners who vow to spare no effort for public health, they check the “illness” and made the tailored prescription. They combine traditional craftsmanship with new cutting-edge technology just to make sure the relics linger longer.

Their “patients” are often iconic superstars, including the grand palace of the Forbidden City in Beijing, or walls bathed in the ethos of vicissitude of Pingyao Ancient City in Shanxi province, the thousands-years-old bronze wares covered with tell-tale signs of verdigris and patina or the magnificent underground legion of the Terracotta Warriors from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).

For generation after generation, deft hands and keen eyes may age, but their hearts remain robust and enthusiasm is never dulled but ever present.

According to the National Cultural Heritage Administration, more than 108 million cultural relics are housed in China's public institutions, and 767,000 so-called “unmovable ”monuments, ancient architecture, structures and heritage sites are registered nationwide. More than 160,000 people work on cultural relic-related positions across the country.

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