“Restoration” Ruins Centuries-Old Buddhist Frescos

Ancient frescos painted over

Those who don’t know history are doomed to destroy it. In Chaoyang, Liaoning province, two officials have been fired for embarking on a “restoration” project that painted over centuries-old Buddhist frescos with bright and gaudy blues, yellows, and reds, resulting in tawdry Taoist figures who belong on a coloring book cover.

The best part about this story is that the unauthorized restoration was reportedly exposed by a microblogger. No rumor-mongering here: shit is shit, even dressed up in pink clouds:

Ancient frescos painted over 2

Global Times has this story:

The Party chief of the Phoenix Mountain scenic area management office was given a warning, and the official in charge of temple affairs, together with the head of the city’s cultural heritage monitoring team, were sacked, said Li Haifeng, the Chaoyang government deputy secretary-general.

A Net user, nicknamed Wujiaofeng, recently published a series of photos showing the new paintings at a hall in the Yunjie Temple in the scenic area, and compared it with the old frescos, and criticized the restoration project for destroying cultural relics.

Most buildings at the Yunjie Temple date back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and a famous pagoda in the temple was built during the Liao period (916-1125).

Here’s a look at what the old frescos looked like:

Ancient frescos painted over 3

According to GT, “Experts from the provincial cultural heritage government said the frescos can be restored to the way they looked in the past, but of course, would not be the originals.” Of course. They would wear the stain of modern-day paint and poor judgment.

Liaoning officials fired for painting over ancient fresco (Global Times) (Top image via BBC)

4 Responses to ““Restoration” Ruins Centuries-Old Buddhist Frescos”

  1. Jonathan Alpart

    Food for thought: what we think of as Western perfection of simplicity of form – ancient Greek statues – were actually similarly painted in these gaudy colors during their time, they just faded to white over the centuries.

    Reply
    • Yomero

      The problem isn’t the colors used. It’s a fact that many works of art that need restoration are known to had very vibrant colors when they were freshly painted. Even some scientist already state that the terracotta warriors were painted in gaudy colors.

      The problem, if you cared to look at the images, is they didn’t do a restoration job, they completely destroyed the original and painted some children’s book cover art over it.

      Reply
  2. Yomero

    They should have called Cecilia Gimenez to help them. It would have ended just as good as her Jesus Christ fresco restoration XD

    Reply

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