A national research institute opened yesterday in Beijing to develop technologies needed to preserve the country's heritage.
The Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, affiliated to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, is intended to improve conservation technology and nurture new generations of conservationists, its president Zhang Tinghao said.
Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng said a lack of technology has hampered the protection of cultural relics, with the country losing much of its past because of it.
In 1957, for example, archeologists opened the mausoleum of a famous Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) emperor in Beijing. But the colorful silk clothes, including dragon robes, first turned dark and then to ashes as they came into contact with the air.
Since then, China has made it a policy that archeologists are not to initiate excavations and buried relics will not be disturbed until there is the technology to preserve them.
It was not until the 1990s that serious research on conservation techniques began on a small scale. The founding of the academy should be regarded as a "starting point for the development of conservation technologies", Sun said.
In related news, 21 businesses and 129 households will be moved from a cultural heritage site in Wutai Mountain in Shanxi province, where 47 Buddhist and Lama temples are situated. The relocation project is estimated to cost 500 million yuan ($70 million), the Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.
Source: China Daily