Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality began constructing a museum on Monday for centuries-old rock carvings that were placed in the World Heritage List in 1999.
The planned Dazu Rock Carvings Museum in Chongqing's Dazu County covers 6.6 hectares and will cost 290 million yuan (about 44.4 million U.S. dollars), the county government said in a press release.
The museum will showcase China's Buddhism, rock carving, folk arts and heritage protection efforts, it said in a press release.
More than 50,000 individual rock carvings lie in the grottoes of Dazu County. The carvings date from the 9th to 13th centuries and were placed on the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999.
The museum will use digital and multimedia devices to better preserve and study these pieces.
Construction of the museum began on Monday to commemorate World Heritage Day.
Meanwhile, experts are restoring one of the site's best-known Buddhist statues. The sculpture of Qianshou Guanyin, the bodhisattva with a thousand hands associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, was carved about 800 years ago during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279).
Guanyin, also known as "Goddess of Mercy," has 1,007 arms, with one eye carved in each palm.
Over the centuries, the statue's color has faded, some of the gold foil covering her has peeled off, cracks have appeared and in 2007, part of one of her many fingers fell off.