Thursday, 14 November 2013

Botch Jobs

The news out of China isn't all about unprecedented economic growth, and environmental collapse - no, it includes other news, such as a tale of a botched art restoration job, in which local communist officials in the city of Chaoyang, instructed to restore some Buddhist frescoes, handed the work to a local firm, who apparently had no experience in art restoration work. So when they looked at the inside of the 270-year-old temple in the north-eastern province of Liaoning, and saw the frescoes (dated to the early period Qing Dynasty), they apparently decided that the best thing to do was put up new frescoes.

However, they also decided that rather than stick to that Buddhist nonsense, it would be better to put new murals up. Maybe with cartoon-like Taoist figures for the kiddies?

Buddhist frescos - Replaced by Taoist Cartoons - Conservation Gone Wrong

So that’s what they went with .... Gone are the ancient murals and now we have cartoon land. Cue outrage ....

Kinda reminds one of the Spanish pensioner, Cecilia Gimenez, who 'restored' a prized Jesus Christ fresco 'Ecce Homo' (Behold The Man), by Elias Garcia Martinez in the 'Sanctuary of Mercy Church' near Zaragoza.  She did such a poor job that it became an Internet and tourist sensation and led her to demand royalties for her work ...

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) Before Full Deterioration

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) Fully Deteriorated

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) If Properly Conserved

Ecce Simia (Behold the Ape) by Cecilia Gimenez

I doubt that these Chinese boys will get such Internet accolades ...... but maybe its not exactly their fault either. Many local councils in 'old' countries such as China, Spain, Greece and Italy, those with long histories, are expected to maintain hundreds or thousands of works of art and cultural items, whilst receiving virtually no help to do so.

Many of us want to see the ruins in foreign parts, but come back and live in modernity - but this not always an easy mix to achieve for the locals where the antiques exist, but not without a great deal of money ..... restoration work can be something of a nightmare for those councils overloaded with history.


  1. Funny story which shows how fragile our grip on the record of the past really is.

  2. Thanks for the comment. History and truth are always under attack, just look on the assault the PC has started on the truth in the West, and again, the attacks on history in Islamic countries where pre Islamic history is just wiped from history (Turkey does this on all levels). .


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