Buddhist Statues Return Home

CRIENGLISH.com, Oct 22, 2005

Luoyang, China -- After wandering abroad for almost a hundred years, the severed heads of two 1,000-year-old Buddhist statues from the Longmen Grottoes of Luoyang, in Central China's Henan Province, finally have the chance to rest on their own shoulders again.

<< Longmen grottoes

Together with them are five other items that have returned where they used to be.

Wang Zhenguo, a researcher into the Longmen Grottoes of Luoyang, says the two heads were removed from the Grottoes in the 1920s by illegal cultural relic dealers.

"Experts took many photographs of the two statues before their heads were removed. On the evidence of these pictures, I think the two heads were removed in the 1920s."

In addition, another three heads from Buddhist statues and a further two entire statues have also been sent back to the grottoes.

A US resident of Chinese origin bought all these items and donated them to China.

The Longmen Grottoes, a World Cultural Heritage site, contain one of the largest and most impressive collections of Buddhist sculpture of the Northern Wei and Tang dynasties, to be found in the country.

Experts say these works mark the zenith of stone carving in China.