XINING -- Chinese experts have restored a 700-year-old handwritten copy of
the Quran, the sacred book of Islam, in northwest China's Qinghai Province.
The 867-page, two-volume set, the oldest known in China, is written in Arabic
and stored in the Jiezi mosque in Xunhua County. The restoration work was done
by experts from the Nanjing Museum.
The Quran was brought to China when the Salar ethnic group moved east from
Maracanda, the ancient name of Samarkand in Uzbekistan, about 700 years ago.
Experts believe it was written between the eighth and the 13th century.
"This copy was handwritten by Arabian Muslims, while other ancient copies in
China where written by Chinese Muslim," said Ma Weimin, deputy director of the
Qinghai Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau, adding that the copy is a valuable
research tool for the study of the origin and history of the Salar ethnic group.
The books had to be repaired and restored as they had seriously deteriorated
and were in danger of rotting, said Ma.
Xi Sancai, director of the cultural relics preservation technique research
institute with the Nanjing Museum in east China's Jiangsu Province, and his
colleagues undertook the restoration job.
The restoration began with a scientific analysis of the paper and
ink,cleaning and removing mildew, and mended damaged pages by using the most
The restored Quran will be preserved in a special box where the temperature
and humidity are fixed and ultraviolet rays and harmful gas are kept out.