For the first time, the 12 Chinese zodiac animals sculptures of the Old Summer Palace are recast and displayed to the public in their original full length.
The replicas are now standing at the ongoing International Horticultural Expo in northwestern Xi'an.
Only on screen could today's viewers see how the ancient water clock worked. It was once the most amazing scene at the Old Summer Palace, until the allied British and French forces looted the imperial garden in 1860.
All that was left after the man-made disaster were the 12 heads of the zodiac animal sculptures, which spouted water to tell the time in the fountain. The recovered heads of tiger, monkey, ox and pig are now housed at Poly Art Museum in Beijing, but the heads of snake, sheep, and rooster are still lost.
To provide a full look of the treasure, the sculptures are revived, but not in the original bronze material. This time they are made from jade. The dozen animals required some 40 tons of jade from Hetian in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, famed for its high-quality.
Expo park in Xi'an is the new home of the set, and has been donated permanently to the venue by the Yuan Ming Yuan Society of China.