Beijing: China will open the third tallest Buddha statue in northwestern Gansu province to public viewing after two years of maintenance by archaeologists.
Built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the centuries-old statue is expected to reopen to visitors in early August in the Bingling Temple Grottoes, known for being home to China`s earliest chronicle inscription in the province.
The giant statue will be assessed by experts from the cultural heritage administration before being thrown open to the public, said Shi Jingsong, the head of the Research Institute of Cultural Relics Preservation at the temple.
The restoration work on it started in June 2011 to repair the damage suffered in wars during the Song, Ming, Yuan and Qing dynasties.
Its head was crumbing and the clay-made nose was destroyed. The chin, hands and clothes were also heavily mottled, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
The latest maintenance was mainly intended to repair the face, hands and feet of the statue. The base was also reinforced.
The Chinese government put the temple under national protection of major cultural relics in 1961.
China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have jointly applied to UNESCO to have historical sites along the ancient Silk Road added to the organisation`s World Heritage List.
The Bingling Temple Grottoes are among these sites.