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China to recruit experts to restore Tang relics in U.S.
2009/04/15

 

    The Daming Palace Foundation in the provincial capital of northwestern China's Shaanxi is recruiting volunteers to go to the United States to repair two ancient Chinese stone horse sculpture reliefs.

    The campaign is in response to a request from the University of Pennsylvania, where they are on display. Six horse reliefs once lined the corridor of Emperor Li Shimin's mausoleum of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).

    Li owed much of his military success to six horses he rode into combat, so he ordered reliefs of the animals to be carved and placed in his tomb to accompany him in the afterlife.

    The images, which feature the horses in different poses, are 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. Volunteers will sign up from April 16 to May 15.

    The foundation's deputy secretary-general Sun Fuxi was quoted by Wednesday's China Daily as saying that the U.S. university had earmarked 70,000 U.S. dollars for the restoration, which was expected to take a month.

    "We hope the two horse reliefs will be perfectly repaired and can be exhibited overseas in the future," said Guan Zhaoyi, also deputy secretary-general of the foundation, said.

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