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Summer palace missing buddha heads explained

(CRI Online)

09:00, July 30, 2013

Management of one of Beijing's most famous tourist spots, the Summer Palace, have offered a new explanation for why several Buddha statues at the site are missing their heads.

The Beijing News reports that the heads fell off due to a natural expansion and contraction of the stone materials rather than vandalism.

Several days ago, a series of photographs posted on the Internet showed that some of the Buddha figures in the Summer Palace, an ancient royal garden in Beijing had had their heads removed, leaving some netizens doubting whether the figures had been damaged by tourists.

A member of staff at the Summer Palace explained that the figures carved on the outer walls of the Hall of Intelligence were initially damaged by the allied foreign forces in 1900 and renovated twice in 1982 and 2006.

However, since the new Buddha heads and the old niches expand and contract at different rates in hot and cold temperatures, it is very easy for the heads to become detached.

To minimize damage to the Buddha figures, heads were added using traditional adhesives to the well-preserved niches. When and how historic relics are renovated is decided entirely by experts, added the Summer Palace staff member.

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