Dunhuang Academy's protection team work to ensure relics not lost to sands of time

By YAN DONGJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-19 07:15
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Su Bomin (right) discusses preservation work on a Buddhist statue at the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Dunhuang Academy's cultural relics protection team was honored with the title of National Outstanding Engineering Team early this year, China's highest honor in the field of engineering.

Su Bomin, the director of the Dunhuang Academy and head of the cultural relics protection team, has been involved in mural protection work for nearly 40 years, while the Dunhuang Academy's cultural relics protection team has expanded from four members in 1992 to over 200 members today.

They have successively rescued and preserved cultural heritage sites in 153 locations across 13 provinces and regions, providing a Chinese solution for the protection of ancient murals and polychrome sculptures worldwide.

"Through the continuous efforts of several generations at the Mogao Grottoes, effective protection and management have been achieved, gradually restoring the site's former glory," Su said.

The Mogao Grottoes stands as the largest and best-preserved Buddhist cave art site in the world, with 735 caves spanning a cliff face 1,700 meters long, containing over 45,000 square meters of murals and more than 2,000 polychrome sculptures.

It is one of only two heritage sites in the world that meet all six criteria for World Cultural Heritage.

The protection and restoration of cultural relics such as the Mogao Grottoes have garnered attention worldwide. The Dunhuang Academy has collaborated with countries such as Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan, promoting a complete set of techniques for cultural heritage protection.

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