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Ancient Silk Road relics to be saved
By Wang Shanshan (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-28 05:44

Cultural relics of the Silk Road will be better protected because of a donation that took a long and winding road.

The Samsung Group in South Korea contributed 150 million Japanese yen (US$1.26 million) to the Tokyo-based Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research.

The foundation then gave the money to China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage, which will use it to train more than 100 conservationists in six Chinese provinces until 2010.

The conservationists will study cutting edge techniques in the preservation and restoration of eight categories of cultural heritage, said Sakai Makoto of the foundation, which initiated the programme.

These techniques are to be used on ancient architecture, ancient civil engineering projects, archaeological sites, ceramics, frescos, metals, papers and textiles in Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai provinces, and the Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions, said Zhang Tinghao, director of the Chinese Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, which is involved in the project.

Among China's 1,271 cultural heritages of national importance, which were chosen from the country's more than 400,000 immovable items of cultural heritage, about one-fifth are located along the Silk Road.

Nature and man have already damaged a few of them, such as the ruins of Niya and Loulan in Xinjiang, Zhang said.

Also, some relics that have been unearthed from the ancient travel route, especially the textiles and papers, are eroding in the open air.

(China Daily 02/28/2006 page2)

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