The world's tallest statue of Buddha, also known as Leshan Buddha, in southwest China's Sichuan Province, is set to receive another facelift, the state media reported.
The damage caused by weathering and acid rain to the 71 metres tall and 28 metres wide 1,280 year old cliff-top statue is being repaired as part of a maintenance project.
The UN-listed world cultural heritage statue has a blackened nose, and moss and dark streaks coated on its face and body, Peng Xueyi, director of the Leshan Cultural Relics Management Institute, said.
"Our initial research shows the phenomena resulted from the combined effects of blossoming microbes nurtured by high humidity, weathering, and acid rain," Peng said.
"We will fix the wear and tear it suffered over the years, and at the same time, keep its 'historical coarseness'," Peng was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.
The Buddha statue, carved from a cliff in Leshan Mountain and overlooking three converging rivers, was built over 90 years from 713 AD, during the prosperous period of the Tang Dynasty.
In 2001, a 250-million Yuan project was launched to clean the body, cement rock structure and mend cracks and install drainage pipes.
The statue has undergone several repairs and checks but the pace of weathering and damage caused by visitors has outpaced the protection work,the report said.