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China's Oldest Jade Clothing Repaired, Put on Display
A 2,000-year-old royal jade attire destroyed by grave robbers has been resewn with gold thread and put on display in Xuzhou City of east China's Jiangsu Province.

As most of the original gold thread had been removed by the unknown grave robbers when archeologists found it in 1995, the armor-like apparel was nothing but a pile of jade plates.

To restore its original look, archeologists with the Xuzhou Museum spent 21 months numbering and cleaning all the jade plates and putting them back together.

Altogether 1,576 grams of gold thread was used to sew the jade pieces together, and the whole restoration cost 500,000 yuan (about US$60,241).

The attire, which looks very similar to armor, measures 1.74 meters long and consists of 4,248 pieces of jade.

Unearthed in Lion Mountain on the outskirts of Xuzhou in 1995, the clothes were worn by a king of the State of Chu in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD).

Curator Li Yinde of the Xuzhou Museum called the exhibit a "national treasure" as it is the best protected and oldest of its kind ever discovered in China.

According to Li, all the jade plates are crystal clear and were well drilled, indicating the craft had already been standardized.

(Xinhua News Agency December 6, 2002)

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