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A stone Buddha head from the time of Wei Dynasty can be seen in Beijing's Luxun Museum

buddah2A stone Buddha head that was stolen from China almost a century ago and recently retrieved has appeared at an exhibition at Beijing Luxun Museum starting from Friday, which is the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The Buddha head belongs to one of the many stone statues in north China's Tianlongshan Grottoes, in the city of Taiyuan in Shanxi Province.

It was the 100th relic retrieved by China from overseas in 2020 and the first Buddha sculpture from the grottoes to be brought back from Japan in almost a century, according to the National Cultural Heritage Administration.

Construction of the Tianlongshan Grottoes began around the Eastern Wei Dynasty (534-550) and continued until the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The site features 25 caves and over 500 Buddha statues, reflecting the sophisticated carving skills and grotto art of the time.

Examinations and evaluations conducted by experts after the Buddha head arrived in Beijing found that the relic was stolen from a statue in Cave 8 of the grottoes in around 1924.

The exhibition, to be continued until March 14, provides an introduction to Cave 8 and the lost relics from the grottoes, and makes use of digital imaging to show how the grottoes once looked.