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​1,000-year-old Buddhist statues restored in Jinan

Photo taken on May 7, 2021 shows a renovated arhat statue dating back to the Song Dynasty at Lingyan Temple in Jinan, East China's Shandong province. [Photo/iqilu.com]

Twelve arhat statues in East China's Shandong province dating back nearly 1,000 years have undergone their first renovation in 39 years.

The colored clay statues are at Lingyan Temple in Jinan, the provincial capital of Shandong, which was built over 1,600 years ago during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420).

At the temple, there are 40 well-preserved arhat statues renowned at home and abroad, most of which were built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

The Buddhist statues in different colors, shapes and with varied expressions have been renovated several times in history, with the last renovation in 1982.

During the restoration in 1982, one clay statue was found to have a human-like abdomen, with the viscera made of silk, said Wang Tingqi, deputy director of the Shandong provincial bureau of culture and tourism.

"The results of protection and restoration this time were beyond expectation," said Su Bomin, deputy director of Dunhuang Research Academy. Workers used safe techniques for the restoration, including repairing some cracked paint and cleaning the dust on the statues, Su said.

Much of the damage took place due to changing temperature and humidity over a long time, Su said.

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