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|Thursday, November 01, 2001, updated at 16:17(GMT+8)|
1,000-Year-Old Iron Lion to be SavedWhen the news spread out that China's oldest and largest Cangzhou iron lion was facing danger of "death", Cultural Relics Administration of Hebei Province had received more than 30 rescue plans. Formal renovation is expected to kick off by the year-end.
On a second visit to Hebei Journalist saw that after the initial rescue work the cracks in the body of the iron lion had diminished to some extent in comparison to that in last year. Wang Yufang, vice director of Cangzhou Cultural Bureau, said that they had selected two rescue-programs, which are under final discussion now.
Cangzhou iron lion, also named as "Sea Guard Howler", was forged in A.D.953. The whole iron lion is 5.78 meters in height, 6.5 meters in length, 3.17 meters in width with a weight of 40 tons. It is China's, even the world's, largest piece of art treasures cast of iron. In 1961, it was listed in the first group of national key cultural relics under the protection of the state.
The iron lion was preserved well on the whole in the open air even after a long time of weathering and water-erosion for over thousand years. However, after it was hoisted up from the ground and reinstalled on a 2-meter high stone pedestal in 1984 and filled with a kind of sulfate composite material in four legs, cracks began to appear in the left back leg. In winter of 1999, the damage became serious. There have been fourteen cracks found over the whole body. The lion is about to collapse. It had to be supported on the inside and outside with trussing meshes and reinforced bars.
Experts thought that the serious damage of the iron lion in recent times was mainly due to "the expansion of the mixed material filled in the lion when it was saturated with air and water. The strong force has resulted in cracking it in many parts of the iron lion."
In January 2000, Cultural Relics Administration of Hebei Province took the lead in setting up a maintenance and expert group and paid great attention to the maintenance work of the iron lion. In October last year, experts spent one month in scratching out the coagulant left in the four legs by hand labor. However, there are still 30-centimeter coagulant remained in the left back leg of the iron lion. It is still a hidden danger.
According to Wang Yufang, experts of Beijing University of Science & Technology had given the lion a comprehensive checkup with advanced instruments. Related experts also conducted a detailed metallurgical analysis. Departments of Cultural Relics Protection of Hebei Province will set on an all-around saving and renovation work the moment the rescue program is approved by the State Administration of Relics.
By PD Online Staff Du Minghua
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