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Unknown artists gave facelifts to some manhole covers in Southwest China in the early hours of Sunday, Xinhua reports.

Some residents of the city even conjectured that they were the work

of the city government, which often came up with bizarre ideas to brush up the city’s image, but no organisation or individual claimed credit this time, according to the state news agency.

The subject matter varied, but most featuring animals, including a giant panda, an animal synonymous with the province at the eastern end of the Himalayan mountain range.

A street cleaner said some of the covers were loose, a potential safety hazard, but they were all now firmly in place.

“The paintings look great,” a local woman said.

“The original manhole covers always looked a bit dirty, so the paintings give them a whole new appearance. My child loved them,” she added.

Browse photography at Denver.Gallery.