Frag­ile pa­tient

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG KAIHAO wangkai­hao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A worker re­pairs ce­ram­ics at a con­ser­va­tion cen­ter dubbed the “Relic Hos­pi­tal”, which opened on Thurs­day at Bei­jing’s Palace Mu­seum. The cen­ter is con­sid­ered China’s most ad­vanced lab for cul­tural relic test­ing and restora­tion.

A state-of-the-art con­ser­va­tion cen­ter to “treat” an­cient cul­tural relics in dis­re­pair opened at Bei­jing’s Palace Mu­seum on Thurs­day.

The base, in­for­mally called the Relic Hos­pi­tal, cov­ers 13,000 square me­ters and boasts the na­tion’s most-ad­vanced restora­tion work­shops, said Shan Jix­i­ang, the mu­seum’s di­rec­tor.

“It is the largest cul­tural her­itage con­ser­va­tion cen­ter in China,” he said. “I hope it will be­come a hub for nur­tur­ing ex­per­tise, not only for China, but also world­wide.”

The fa­cil­ity has a laser tech­nol­ogy lab, a joint ven­ture by China and Greece to share con­ser­va­tion ex­pe­ri­ences, and fea­tures a train­ing cen­ter for the In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Con­ser­va­tion of Historic and Artis­tic Works.

This year saw the re­lease of the highly pop­u­lar Mas­ters in the For­bid­den City, a three­part doc­u­men­tary that fol­lowed ex­perts at the mu­seum. A fea­ture-length ver­sion was screened at cin­e­mas this month. The Palace Mu­seum, also known as the For­bid­den City, was home to the royal court be­tween 1420 and 1912. To­day, it houses more than 1.8 mil­lion sets of cul­tural relics.

“Tra­di­tional crafts­man­ship will be com­bined with mod­ern meth­ods, and the lives of cul­tural relics will be pro­longed by the ‘doc­tors’,” Shan said, re­fer­ring to ex­perts at the new cen­ter, who like med­i­cal doc­tors wear white coats.

He added that the base will even­tu­ally be opened to tourists, although no time frame has been set.

WEI XIAOHAO / CHINA DAILY

WEI XIAOHAO / CHINA DAILY

Cul­tural relic “doc­tors” re­pair an­tiques at the Palace Mu­seum’s new con­ser­va­tion cen­ter on Thurs­day.

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