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Renovations of Ming Walls Say 'No' to Cement
Reports say construction of the Ming Great Wall Relics Park has entered the last stage of greening and there is hope to open to the public before the National Day. The reporter found on Sept. 22 no "cement" of the usual type in modern construction but a gray lime plaster was used in renovation work of Ming Dynasty Walls.

Thus, maintenance technicians of cultural relics explained to the reporter that cultural relics department has put a firm demand that no modern cement could be used in building the Ming Great Wall Relics Park according to the principleˇ°keeping as of old after getting repaired".

Old Beijing city walls first built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as learned had as its building material an adhesive made of lime white and plaster and large earthen bricks, which can be clearly seen from the existing old city wall relics in the park.

It is an ancient craft, after all. Compared with modern cement, how is the cementing force of the lime plaster? Can it withstand natural calamities? To clear the reporter's doubts, technicians with expertise pointed to a dilapidated wall to a height of five-storied house, saying "these existing wall relics prove the cementing force of lime plaster, because they have stood up to over 600 years' wear and tear of weather." Right before renovating the old city walls of the Ming Great Wall Relics Park, he added, technicians particularly made a scientific demonstration to prove that to restore old walls by this "old cement" will not only help keep their olden feature but also meet the requirement for great fastness.

(People's Daily September 24, 2002)

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