Clearly the Chinese local authorities have been taking lessons from Spain.
The abbot of Yunjie temple in Chaoyang, Liaoning province, knew that his place of worship needed work. He applied for restoration permission, and that meant getting permits from the cultural heritage department. But local authorities stepped in, decided that fiddling permits weren’t really necessary when restoring a Qing Dynasty (1641-1911) wall painting, and got an unqualified local company to do the job. The pictures below give you an idea of what was there before the restoration bandits arrived, and what was left in their wake.
It has a certain Spanish flavor, except that this time two people have been fired and there’s no question of royalties. The official in charge of temple affairs and the head of the city’s cultural heritage monitoring team have both been given the boot, and another official has received a warning. An investigation is ongoing, and further punishment may be forthcoming, according to the Global Times.
At least the Spanish restoration featured – broadly – the same subject; it’s difficult to see a relation between the original and the remake at Yunjie temple. A restoration is possible, according to government officials. Li Zhanyang, an archaeologist with Henan’s Culture Relics Bureau, said that this kind of thing happens all the time. “They just use the name ‘restoration’ for a new project,” he said, and pressure is always on to complete the job quickly, and at a good price. “Most Chinese people do not enjoy the beauty of ancient, real ruins,” he lamented. “Instead, they like dazzling, new, high, big things.”