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Chinese and Japanese Experts Restore Frescoes in Xinjiang

Some 30 frescoes, which were drawn in the Tang Dynasty some 1,400 years ago, have recently been restored and displayed their true features, thanks to the efforts made by some Chinese and Japanese experts.   

Although these frescoes covered an area of only 10 square meters, it took the experts two years to restore them.   

Zhang Yuzhong, a researcher from the Xinjiang Cultural Relics and Archeological Research Institute, said that in order to repair these frescoes, experts from China and Japan had applied restoration methods used in France, Japan and China. With a careful selection of materials, experts tried to restore the frescoes to their original conditions by using different methods such as fixing, solidifying and revamping. These frescoes are now kept in the Xingjiang Cultural Relic and Archeology Research Institute. 

Zhang first discovered the frescoes in October 2002, when he led a team of Chinese and Japanese experts to conduct research at the Dandanwulike Relic. They noticed part of the frescoes exposed outside in a temple and took off the fresco and shipped them back to Urumqi. This is the first time that Chinese archeologists carried an excavation at the Dandanwulike Relic.  

Since the frescoes were drawn on a wall surface made of mud and grass, they could have fallen off easily. In the eastern part, since the wall have fallen off in an outward direction, the frescoes there had remained in a good condition. The pictures drawn on the frescoes were either Buddhist images or depicted Buddhist stories. For the rest part, the walls had already fallen off either inside or outside. At some part, the frescoes had piled up. The remaining frescoes were discovered mostly at the northern, southern and western sides of the wall.   

After making a comparison, experts found that the restored frescoes discovered in Xingjiang were different from those kept in the Indian Art Museum in Berlin, Germany, and those kept in the British Museum in regard to style, color and pattern. The contents of the frescoes indicated that they were drawn in the early Tang Dynasty, or in the late seventh century.

(Chinanews.cn August 4, 2006)

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