Four Treasures at Three Gorges Well Protected
2003-6-5 19:51:01
Water storage at the Three Gorges Reservoir started on June 1, and all the land area under the 135 meter waterline is expected to be submerged by June 15. The protection of cultural relics in this area is drawing great attention from the public, especially the so-called four state treasures: an ancient temple, stone inscriptions, cliff carvings and an ancient structure complex. CRI's reporter Shen Ting has more.
Zhang Fei, an ancient warrior made popular in the classic Chinese novel Romance of Three Kingdoms, is now jokingly referred to as the relocated person who cost the most money. As the Temple of Zhang Fei, boasting a history of more than 1,700 years, is to be submerged with the water storage of the Three Gorges Reservoir, the local government has spent more than 5 million US dollars moving the temple to a new site.

The temple has great historical value because of its graceful ancient structural complex, as well as a great number of precious calligraphy works , paintings, stone and wood sculptures from various dynasties through the Chinese history. In order to best protect these relics, the new temple will conform strictly to its original appearance and style, down to the last chair and table. Last October, 245 craftsmen from around the country started the work of relocating the temple. Wang Chuanping, Deputy Director of Chongqing Cultural Bureau, explains the recent situation. 

He says the relocation work has almost come to an end and a new temple will be opened to the public at the beginning of July. By then, people will be able to see a temple complete with the original features and flavours of the original.

As for the measures being taken to protect the 1,200-year White Crane Ridge Stone Inscriptions of Hydrological Records, said to be the first hydrometric station in the world, Director Wang says they have decided to cover them with a huge non-pressure container. This is the only cultural relics site in the Three Gorges area to be totally protected underwater. Ge Runxiu, the man who thought up the measure, explains the principle behind it. 

He says that just as a soap box in a water jar wouldn't be crushed if it is filled with water, the stone inscriptions will be well protected if the container is filled with water that is clean and doesn't damage the relic. He adds that an underwater museum will also be built to allow visitors to view the historical remains.

A similar measure will be taken to protect Shibao Village, a distinctive wood structure complex. A strong wall will be constructed around the complex to block the water and consolidate their groundwork, as Shibao Village will only be partly submerged. The work is scheduled to begin at the end of this year.

As for the cliff carvings of the Han Dynasty at Zhongxian County, Director Wang explains that all of them have been moved to another historic site in the area, and the problem of efflorescence during the relocation has been successfully solved.

Shen Ting, CRI news.
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Producer: Yu Jie      Designer & Pagemaker: Avida