China's existing tallest Buddhist stone pillar under renovation

(Xinhua) 09:44, January 17, 2024

SHIJIAZHUANG, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- China has started the renovation of its tallest existing Buddhist stone pillar, which, in the northern Hebei Province, is about the height of a five-story building.

The pillar, standing at 16.44 meters, is situated in Zhaoxian County. It was first built in the year 1038 in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Inscribed with scriptures and in the shape of a pagoda, it has developed defects and cracks in the components throughout time, with the original bonding materials aging and the materials weathering and peeling.

To prolong the life of the pillar, a renovation was launched by the Hebei provincial cultural relics authorities, which will last for a year.

According to Lu Dongli, director of the cultural relics protection institute of Zhaoxian, renovation work would include a rinse of the surface, reinforcement of the body, straightening of the top, supplementation of missing components, and crack bonding reinforcement.

Adhering to the principle of minimum intervention, local experts will try to use the original material, skills and processes as much as possible to retain valuable historical information about the pillar.

The pillar bore exquisite carvings of dragons, beasts and floating clouds and was seen as a model of a combination of Chinese architecture and sculpture art, with great historical and artistic value for the studies of Northern Song Dynasty culture and art. It has been listed as a cultural relics protection unit at the state level.

It went through a renovation in August 1983, when some parts of it were damaged by a lightning strike.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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