China has announced the country's first inventory of collections in government art galleries since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The census, which is due to finish by December 2016, will cover all art works preserved by art galleries on the Chinese mainland under the administration of cultural departments, according to the Ministry of Culture.
The preparation for the census has been completed and the government will next focus on data collection and database construction, said Vice Culture Minister Dong Wei.
Information to be collected in the census will include artist, date for creation, image, preservation status, etc.
There are pressing problems in China's collections of art works, such as inadequate input, poor preservation, and lack of a clear picture of their status, Dong said.
"The academic and social value of the art works has not been brought into full play," Dong said.
Dong described the census as an action that will help the country better grasp and scientifically evaluate the situation of its art works, and support their future preservation and promotion.
A special leading group has been set up by the Ministry of Culture to supervise and coordinate the project.