NANJING, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The giant stone statues in the imperial Xiaoling Mausoleum, the burial site of the Ming Dynasty's (1368-1644) founding emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, will receive its first large-scale "facelift," local authorities said Wednesday.
The 34 stone sculptures along the Sacred Avenue of the mausoleum in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, have been damaged due to combined effects of pollution, bioerosion and weathering over the past 600 years, according to the mausoleum management bureau.
Experts will conduct repair experiments on a pair of stone statues before Oct. 1 to provide a reference for the whole restoration project.
Solemn and extremely lifelike, the guardian stone statues of human figures and animals like elephants and camels represent the supreme artwork of stone-cutting in the early Ming Dynasty.
The imperial Xiaoling Mausoleum buried emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and his empress. In 2003, it was included on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.