China recruits experts to restore Tang Dynasty relics in U.S.
The Daming Palace Foundation in northwestern China's Shaanxi Province announced Saturday that it was recruiting volunteers to help repair two ancient Chinese stone horse reliefs in the United States.
Sun Fuxi, deputy secretary-general of the Xi'an-based foundation, said five volunteers had been enrolled in but only two of them would go to the United States for the mission. The five people were all experts working with organizations for preservation and protection of cultural relics in Shaanxi Province.
The Daming Palace Foundation will organize relevant training courses, targeting topics such as etiquette, everyday English, for the five experts and select two who are qualified in all aspects. The two are expected to travel to the States in early September.
They would participate in the repairing work of the latter period, namely repairing the broken parts and coloring, as hoped by the University of Pennsylvania, where the two horse reliefs are housed, said Sun.
The two reliefs are among the six stone horse reliefs once lined the corridor of the mausoleum of Emperor Li Shimin of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The sculptures, which feature the horses in different poses, are regarded as true-to-life specimens of Tang-era sculpture.
Smugglers stole the reliefs in 1918 but were stopped by locals in Tongguan, Shaanxi. But the thieves still managed to get two of the artworks to the United States, while the other four ended up in Xi'an's Forest of Steles Museum.
As the two reliefs were broken into several pieces during transport, the University of Pennsylvania Museum had asked the Daming Palace Foundation to send two experts to work with their American counterparts to restore them.
The foundation ran an ad on April 14 asking volunteers who were willing to go for the overseas mission to sign up from April 16 to May 15.
According to Sun, the U.S. university had set aside a budget of 70,000 U.S. dollars for the restoration work, which was expected to take a month.