Chinese ancient temple on fire, an alert on further needed measures to protect cultural relics from fire hazards
Published: Mar 28, 2022 12:14 AM
Photo: Screenshot of Weibo video

Photo: Screenshot of Weibo video

Part of an ancient temple with a history of more than 1,000 years located in Wuyishan, East China's Fujian Province, caught fire on Friday. The planning of the restoration work was arranged by the local authority on the same day.

A video clip has gone viral on Chinese social media platform since Saturday, showing a wooden architecture burning out of control. The post said that it was part of the ancient temple in Wuyishan.

The temple, with an area of 1,175.2 square meters, was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and rebuilt several times throughout different dynasties.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and nobody was hurt, Jimu News reported, saying that the fire broke out in only part of the temple, including a well-known old hall.

This is not the first time that the ancient temple has caught fire. Back in 1979, its hall of Avalokitesvara Buddhisatva was also destructed by fire.

The local authority organized a meeting on the same day to discuss the restoration work of the temple.

The repair work should follow the principle of keeping the original style of the temple and pay attention to fire safety in its design, as reported.

The restoration work is set to be finished at the end of this year.

Wooden ancient buildings are easily destructed by fire and authorities should take preventive measures, Xu Yitao, archeologist from Beijing specialized in ancient buildings, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Xu said that if the buildings are highly valuable for cultural research, the cultural value of the relics should be prioritized and human activities in the buildings should be decreased or even banned.

"It is very difficult to eliminate the loss of ancient buildings caused by accidents, but we should try our best to control it, like expanding the list of absolute protection and establishing an effective mechanism of management and prevention," Xu said.

A fire damaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in April 2019, shocking the world. After that, the Chinese government kicked off a campaign against fire hazard threats on cultural relics in the country.

According to China's National Cultural Heritage Administration, the campaign ran from July to mid-September, covering immovable cultural relics that were at potential risk of fire. More than 70,000 museums and cultural institutions were inspected, about 100,000 fire hazards were found and over 90,000 potential fire risks were rectified.