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Five ancient Chinese wooden buddhas home after war

2014-09-25 09:07 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Five wooden Buddha sculptures removed from their resting location in China amidst the chaos of World War II were welcomed home after a Thai collector returned them on Wednesday.

According to Chen Quanzhou, head of the Hebei Provincial Cultural Communication Association, the sculptures of the Buddha Kwan-yin were among the collection of Pisal Techaviphak, vice president of a Thai association of Buddha statues and culture relics.

Once worshipped in royal Chinese temples, Chinese officials shipped them to the south during wartime in the 1940s, Chen said. Techaviphak's father bought them.

The sculptures showed different poses of Kwan-yin, riding on a dragon, preaching and carrying a baby. They were finished at different times, from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Song Dynasty (960-1276) to Qing (1644-1912).

"They were made from an entire trunk of the camphor tree, with the biggest taller than two meters," said Huang Xingguo, a sculptor. "It is amazing that such big ancient sculptures are so well-preserved."

Puntil Jongjittrakoon, representative of the Thai association in China, hailed the increase of non-governmental exchanges between China and Thailand. "Mr. Techaviphak is well aware of the importance of Kwan-yin to the Chinese people, so he decided to give them back to China."

Chen Quanzhou told Xinhua that in China, the wooden sculptures made in Tang and Song dynasties were quite rare.

Three of the sculptures have been sent to the Jile Temple in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province.

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