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King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng

  • Source : China Tibet Online Author : Time : 06/07/2015 Editor : Wang Chenyan

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      Princess Wencheng left Chang'an to get married with Tubo King Songtsan Gampo.[Photo/Xinhua]


    One thousand and three hundreds years ago, Princess Wencheng left Chang'an, the prosperous capital of Tang Dynasty, from which she went west for about 3000 kilometers and arrived in Tibet, aiming to get married with Tubo King Songtsan Gampo.


    Their marriage initiated a new era for friendship between Tang Dynasty and Tubo, and this story is still widespread among Han and Tibetan people.


    In the early seventh century, after years of war, Li Yuan and his second son Li Shimin established Tang Dynasty with Chang’an as the capital.


    Being very powerful and prosperous, Tang Dynasty became the center of civilization in the East Asia region and influenced many minority tribes who tried to build rapprochement with Tang Dynasty one after another.


    During this period, Songtsan Gampo, who had held sway over the snowy plateau and a few small states, established a united Tubo Kingdom with Rasa (Lhasa today) as the capital.


    He actively sought opportunity to build close relationship with Tang Dynasty, where he sent an eloquent and smart ambassador Lon Tongtsen with the purpose of getting married with a princess in 634 AD.In 641 AD, Emperor Taizong of Tang finally agreed to marry Princess Wencheng to Songtsan Gampo. Accompanied by lots of attendants and ambassadors from both sides, Princess Wencheng went westward on the "Tang-Tibet Road".


    When Princess Wencheng arrived in Lhasa, the local people sang and danced to welcome her.


    At that time, Buddhism which was quite popular in Tang Dynasty had not appeared in Tibet. As a pious Buddhist, Princess Wencheng brought some pagodas, sutras and Buddha statues to Tubo, and decided to build monasteries and promote Buddhism there.


    The princess presided over the project of Jokhang Temple, and planted the well-known "willow of the Tang Dynasty" with her husband before the gate after the completion of the Jokhang Temple. The figure of Buddha right in the center of the hall of the Jokhang Temple was also brought by Princess Wencheng from Chang’an.


    She built Ramoche Temple later. From that time on, Buddhism began popular in Tibet.


    Princess Wencheng also taught Tibetans to cultivate the five cereals and vegetables; meanwhile, she brought various things there, ranging from trunk, horse, mule, camel, to technological and medical works, which greatly promoted the progress of Tubo.


    Songtsan Gampo, who adored the princess very much, especially built the magnificant Potala Palace including 1000 rooms for her. Although the palace was destroyed by thunder and war later, it became what it is now by two expansions in the 17th century.


    After their marriage, the friendship between the Central Plain and Tubo got strengthened.


    Since his admiration for the culture of the Central Plain, Songtsan Gampo sent some children of the aristocracy to study in Chang’an. At the same time, Tang Dynasty also sent a variety of craftsmen to teach Tibetans technical skills.


    Songtsan Gampo’s unification of Tibet and marriage with princess of Tang Dynasty not only boosted local development of politics, economy and culture, but also strengthened the close tie between Tibetans and Hans, which contributed a lot to the development of China as a united multinational country.


    All this is not only etched into the annals of history, but also remembered by Tibetans and Hans forever.



    The princess planted the well-known "willow of the Tang Dynasty" with her husband before the gate after the completion of the Jokhang Temple.[Photo/Xinhua]



    The photo shows the statues of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng.[Photo/Xinhua]


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