Bian Zaibin, the deputy director of Dujiangyan heritages bureau, recalled that when the earthquake struck that day, the bureau staff struggled to get everything precious out of the storage building.
"We got out 6 boxes of relics, of which 575 were Chinese paintings and works of calligraphy. The first one we saved was the renowned work by the artist Xu Beihong – Running Horse," he said. To protect the treasures, they held an umbrella over the treasures and stood outside their workplace all night long after the quake hit. Currently staff workers are still evacuating over 40,000 relics. Fortunately, only 6 state protected relics were damaged.
These relics will be stored in Chengdu's museum. Earthquake survivors are urgently requesting more tents and Bian said the relics also urgently require more boxes and cases in order to preserve them properly.
Luo Zhewen, president of the Chinese Society of Cultural Relics, said that buildings made of wood could be restored but that brick and mortar structure would be more difficult to rebuild. One marketing official for the Dujiangyan and Mount Qingcheng resorts said that the damaged relics and buildings would be repaired one at a time under the close supervision of an expert. But she estimated that the first batch of restored scenic spots would not be open to the public before early 2009 at the quickest.
Gansu Province, although far from the epicenter, also suffered losses in cultural relics. As of May 22, sixteen museums have reported damages according to the provincial heritage protection bureau. This includes 607 pieces under various levels of protection, among which, 288 cannot be restored in any way. Fortunately, the internationally famous Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes haven't incurred any losses to date.