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N. China tomb renovated, murals restored


13:53, December 04, 2012

Archaeologists in north China's Shanxi Province have finished renovating a nearly 1,500-year-old tomb and restoring the murals in the tomb's interior, sources said on Monday.

The tomb of Xu Xianxiu, a high-profile official of the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557), was unearthed a decade ago, but has since suffered severe oxidization due to exposure to air, according to Wu Guangwen, head of the office that oversees the protection of the tomb.

Wu said the wall paintings were improved after the maintenance work, which was undertaken by the Dunhuang Academy at a cost of over 3 million yuan (476,190 U.S. dollars).

"The wall paintings are so precious that we shall try our best to preserve and protect them," Wu said.

Located on the outskirts of Taiyuan, provincial capital of Shanxi, the tomb is considered to have some of the best-preserved murals from the Northern Qi period. The interior walls of the tomb are decorated with paintings covering about 330 square meters, which experts say are of great archaeological significance.

The tomb was listed as one of the top 10 archaeological findings in 2002, and in 2006 it was named one of the key cultural relics under state-level protection by the State Council, China's Cabinet.

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