Nearly 1,000 2,000-year-old pottery animals will be buried again at the Hanyang Mausoleum in Shaanxi Province to add their preservation.
The Hanyang Mausoleum, 20 kilometers north from Xi'an, capital of the province, is the tomb of the fourth emperor Liu Qi and his queen in Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD) and the most complete mausoleum from this dynasty ever discovered.
Tens of thousands of relics, which feature colored terra-cotta nude figurines and a variety of animals have been unearthed in the area since the 1970s.
Walking down the 10-meter-long tomb tunnel, you could think yourself in an ancient zoo: fishes swimming with their swaying pink tail fins, cocks craning their necks as if singing, hens pacing and dogs on the alert pricking their ears up.
The tomb was opened to tourists three years ago. However now it is to be filled in again to preserve the ancient collection.
"The colors of the figurines are fading away because we do not know of an effective way to preserve them. Though measures to keep colors of the figurines in Qin Dynasty (221 BC-207 BC) have been effective, they were found to be of no use in treating those in the following Han dynasty," said Tan Ping, curator assistant of the Hanyang Mausoleum Museum.
(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2002)