China opens museum of ancient rock carvings

Beijing, Oct 19 (IANS) A museum displaying rock carvings listed as China’s World Heritage was inaugurated earlier this month in a county.

Nearly 1,000 fragments of rock carvings are on display at the Dazu Rock Carvings Museum, which covers 6,500 square metres, Xinhua news agency quoted an official as saying on Monday.

More than 50,000 individual rock carvings lie in the grottoes of Chongqing’s Dazu county. They date from the ninth to 13th centuries and were placed on the World Heritage list by the Unesco in 1999.

In addition to the artworks, the museum also uses digital and multimedia devices to showcase the history of rock carvings and heritage protection efforts, such as the restoration of the sculpture of Qianshou Guanyin, the Bodhisattva with a thousand hands associated with compassion as venerated by east Asian Buddhists.

Technicians finished revamping the sculpture, which was carved about 800 years ago during the southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1276), after seven years’ work in June.

Over the centuries, the statue’s colour has faded, some of the gold foil covering it has peeled off, cracks have appeared and in 2007, part of one of its many fingers fell off.

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