CHINA Beijing to found first Great Wall Restoration Center

CHINA

Beijing to found first Great Wall Restoration Center

China.org.cn

09:19, March 18, 2019

China's first Great Wall Restoration Center will be established in Beijing, dedicated to research, repair, protection and display of the Jiankou section of the Great Wall.

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The Great Wall. (File photo: VCG)

Based on a model of protecting historical relics through research, the center will organize archaeological experts, designers, and artisans to examine the Jiankou section and work out plans for restoring the walls.

Previously, this research-oriented model was piloted in the protection of the Hall of Mental Cultivation in the Palace Museum.

Experts say this model could better protect the Great Wall and retain the historical information of the cultural relics to the utmost extent.

The Jiankou section of the Great Wall is 7,952 meters in length, taking the shape of a fully drawn bow. The restoration project of this section was initiated in 2016, and so far work has been completed on a 1,003-meter-long stretch.

This February, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage officially approved the repair plan for the eastern and southern parts of the Jiankou section of the Great Wall.

The Great Wall Restoration Center will be the first research institution of the country dedicated to research, repair, protection, and display of the Great Wall, said Zhang Tong, head of the Huairou District Cultural Relics Institute.

"Under the new protection model, archaeologists, designers and artisans will make research while working out plans to do the repairs. In this way will the research, design, construction and development be formed into an organic whole," Zhang said, adding that the center will ensure better protection of the Great Wall and lay a solid foundation for future tourism development.

The pilot of the new protection model is owing to the unpredictability of excavation and protection of cultural relics, Zhang said. "As far as the Great Wall is concerned, many walls and riding tracks are covered with thick vegetation and soil layers, making it difficult to see the wall structure." Therefore, it is difficult to make a perfect renovation plan in advance.

"Oftentimes when you have removed the soil layers, you will see the structure and find the established scheme not feasible, and therefore an emergency remedy is needed," Zhang said. The restoration center will help to bring experts together to conduct regular examinations and make plans accordingly.

As a special Great Wall research agency, the center will have professional archaeological and scientific research personnel to conduct scientific repair and protection of the Great Wall in strict compliance with the historical information collected. The entire repair process will also be recorded to provide detailed information for future protection.

In addition, the center will provide long-term examinations for the Great Wall and implement preventive measures. "For the Great Wall, active prevention of damage is much more important than passive rescue," said Zhao Peng, a designer who has long worked in the restoration of cultural relics.

Due to a lack of meticulous management and protection on a regular basis, some walls and watchtowers on the Great Wall have collapsed. Zhao said the prevention of damage and keeping historical records should be done before the onset of restoration.

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