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Terracotta Warriors face growing mould threat


Forty-eight types of mould are eating away at China's 2,000-year-old Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, reports Wednesday's Beijing Morning Post. Scientists from Belgium insist that if the moulds are not killed quickly the ancient relics will be doomed. The museum jointly set up a microbe lab with Janssen Pharmaceutical Belgium in 2001 to curb the growth of the mould, which has damaged the surface of the statues, resulting in color changes. The mould is also said to be nibbling away at the inner material that could lead to irreparable damage. Temperature changes caused by millions of visitors a year is thought to be the major reason behind the growing mould problem. The museum extended its cooperation with the two pharmaceutical companies by signing an agreement on Tuesday to set up a cultural relic protection and research center. The terracotta army was found in the tomb of China's first emperor, Qinshihuang, outside the city of Xi'an in the 1970s by farmers digging a well.

(Source:Xinhua, 2006-10-18)