Monday marks the World Heritage Day. Chinese experts started a restoration project to save a rock carving statue in Southwest China on this special day. After three years of experiments, a special fibre is chosen as the perfect element to connect the fallen hands of the 1,000 armed Goddess of Mercy.
These are the broken hands that have fallen from the thousand armed Bodhasattva, one of the 4,600 rock carving statues in Dazu county near Chongqing Municipality.
After three years of experiments with 7 materials, a fibre element is confirmed as the best one to reunite the fallen hands to their owner.
The restoration will be completed in an eight step process, starting with cleaning the dust.
Zong Shu, expert of China Cultural Heritage Institute, said, "This is the outer layer of the statue which you can see that too much dust and the humid climate have eroded the gold foil on the surface."
The restoration project is planned to take three years to complete, with the aim of allowing the statue to stand in good condition for another century.
While for the broken hands still on the statue the method of restoration is controversial.
Zhan Changfa, team leader of Restoring project, said, "We did an experiment. We made up the broken part as we thought it should be, though we didn't have a clue of the original look. And now the result is treated with more disagreements with people questioning how did we know the shape of the lost fingers. They insist that a remake like this is not restoring history."
A survey for the protection of the legacy was carried out as early as 2001 before the project to save the one-thousand armed Goddess of Mercy was set in 2008.