In Southwest China, an effort is getting underway to restore one of the world's biggest Buddhist statues. According to the cultural authorities of Chongqing municipality, the eight-year project will fully assess the colossal artifact and bring back its former grandeur.
The reclining Buddha statue to be restored in Chongqing./CFP
The statue, measuring 31 meters from head to toe, is the world's largest stone statue of Buddha in a reclining pose. It is also the largest artifact at the Dazu Rock Carvings, a site dating as far back as the 9th century, in the Tang Dynasty.
Dazu Rock Carvings. /UNESCO
In addition to the reclining Buddha, the Dazu site is home to some 50,000 Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian rock carvings, accompanied by various inscriptions and epigraphs. Commissioned by believers from the 9th to the 13th centuries, all of them are located in the grottos on steep hillsides. In 1999, the Dazu Rock Carvings has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Dazu Rock Carvings. /CFP
Over the ages, the giant Buddha has seen severe weathering and water erosion. Its numerous discolorations and breakages will be revamped during the upcoming facelift.
A panel of experts will conduct detailed field inspections and researches during the project's first three years. Their plan will be approved by China's national cultural heritage authorities before implementation.