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Deyang: Restoring history, bit by bit

Updated: 2013-05-09 14:39
(China Daily)

Deyang: Restoring history, bit by bit

Sanxingdui Museum experts repair cultural relics damaged by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. PHOTO BY HUANG YIMING / CHINA DAILY

The Wenchuan earthquake created many new relics - ruins and debris since converted into memorials and museum exhibits. It destroyed many ancient artifacts, too.

The temblor toppled hundreds of museum display cases in Sichuan province, shattering more than 2,000 items that had survived millennia, Yu Jian, an expert with Sanxingdui cultural relics protection department, says.

Most have since been repaired.

Deyang: Restoring history, bit by bit

Repairing damaged relics is a big challenge. PHOTO BY HUANG YIMING / CHINA DAILY

Only two of the damaged relics were from Deyang city's Sanxingdui Museum, hailed among the world's most important archeological sites because it was home to a mysterious civilization from the 12th to the 11th centuries BC. The temporary workshop for restoration work is in the back.

"Figuring out how the bits go together is like solving a puzzle," Yu says, jabbing paste into the cracks of a ceramic urn."We feel terrible that so many precious relics were ruined, but are happy to contribute to their restorations. They're irreplaceable pieces of history."

Despite their value, however, the relics haven't been a primary recovery concern, the 32-year-old says.

"Of course, daily life occupies most people's minds," Yu says."But they should also heed culture and history. We hope more people will pay attention to the restoration of these artifacts."

The relics not only reference the past but also point to the future, he says. "People are curious about what happened long ago. We can rediscover lost history from relics created before writing. They are records. We can see how they were created and perhaps apply some of what we learn from that time to today."

The same is true for times to come, he says."I'm happy to do this work because our children's children will have the chance to see these precious artifacts," he says. "It's a privilege."


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