Repair work begins on antechamber of China's Mogao Grottoes UNESCO site |


Repair work begins on antechamber of China's Mogao Grottoes UNESCO site

Updated: Dec 1, 2020 Xinhua Print

Repair workers at the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Northwest China's Gansu province, have begun a five-month repair project for an antechamber, a wooden structure in front of a cave.

The antechamber was built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and is located in front of Cave No 94, which was built in the late Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Some of the antechamber's wooden beams and poles fractured in 2018, forcing workers to implement temporary measures to support the structure.

Guo Qinglin, head of the protection and research institute at the Dunhuang Academy, said the structure could collapse if no measures are taken, posing a threat to the safety of the cave.

The repair work has been approved by the National Cultural Heritage Administration and is expected to be completed by April next year.

Guo said that more than 10 caves are being comprehensively repaired, with another 30 under regular maintenance.

The Mogao Grottoes are home to a vast collection of Buddhist artwork -- more than 2,000 colored sculptures and 45,000 square meters of murals are located in 735 caves, carved along the cliffs by ancient worshippers.

The construction of the grottoes began in the year 366. For more than 1,000 years, they were a popular marketplace, a travelers' stop, and a religious shrine on the ancient Silk Road.

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