19 Oct 2015 19:16 IST

Ancient China rock carvings put up for public display

Nearly 1,000 fragments of rock carvings on display at Dazu Rock Carvings Museum

More than 800-year-old rock carvings, influenced by East Asian Buddhist beliefs and listed as world heritage by the UNESCO, have been put on public display at a museum in southwest China.

Nearly 1,000 fragments of rock carvings are on display at the Dazu Rock Carvings Museum, which covers 6,500 square metres, Li Fangyin, head of the Academy of Dazu Rock Carvings, said today.

More than 50,000 individual rock carvings lie in the grottoes of Chongqing’s Dazu County.

The carvings date from the 9th to 13th centuries and were placed on the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1999, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

In addition to the artworks, the museum also uses digital and multimedia devices to showcase the history of rock carving 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 her has peeled off, cracks have appeared and in 2007, part of one of her many fingers fell off.

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