Screenshot from Sina Weibo
A photography exhibition about the restoration of some statues at an ancient grotto was held in Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality on Saturday but was closed after only three days after numerous Chinese netizens criticized the photographer for “restoring” the cultural relics without having the proper credentials or training.
On Wednesday, Yu Chun, a deputy professor at the School of Cultural Heritage in Northwest University, confirmed after examining the photos that the grotto statues restored by the photographer, Chu Bingchao, were indeed ancient cultural relics, and that any unqualified or non-professional person who attempted such restorations without the proper authorization might need to bear certain legal repercussions, Chinese News site The Paper reported on Thursday.
At present, the security supervision office of the Gansu Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau is conducting an investigation into the incident, the bureau announced on Wednesday.
The exhibition displayed before and after comparison shots of the “restoration” Chu carried out since 2014 on more than 50 grotto statues he found in Northwest China’s Gansu Province, Shaanxi Province and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
“I did not just repair the statues, but incorporated my personal imagination and understanding of Buddha statues, and my mood at the time into the statues during the repairs,” the 34-year-old artist said in his introduction to the exhibition.
The exhibition, however, was thrown into question by many netizens who believed that Chu’s actions had actually damaged these cultural relics.
“Restoration of cultural relics cannot be carried out by just any artist but must be