China assesses damage to Buddhist grottoes
A systematic assessment of damage to caves at the Maijishan Grottoes in northwest China has been conducted for restoration work, local officials said.
The Maijishan Grottoes in Gansu Province are a 1,600- year-old UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of about 200 caves and more than 10,000 Buddhist sculptures.
The assessment has classified the 221 caves in the grottoes into three risk levels, with 32 caves among the most severe facing risks such as collapse and murals falling off, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The general assessment is for the preparation of our protection and restoration work, Yue Yongqiang, deputy director of Maijishan Grottoes art institute preservation division said.
Due to natural humidity and erosion, cracks have appeared on some caves and some sculptures and murals are in a state of decay.
Maijishan Grottoes is one of China’s four largest Buddhist cave complexes, along with Mogao, Yungang and Longmen grottoes in Gansu, Shanxi and Henan provinces, respectively.