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Renovation of major monastery on track

  • Source : China Daily Author : Time : 06/22/2020 Editor : Wang Chenyan

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    Located in Xiahe county in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Gannan, Labrang Monastery was built in 1709 and has been a major national cultural protection site since 1982.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

     

    After almost eight years, the renovation of Labrang Monastery in Gansu province is nearly completed, with the main structures and frescos of 14 Buddha halls restored, local authorities said Thursday.

     

    The next step is to renovate two more Buddha halls and recolor the paintings on the columns and other parts of the halls involved in the renovation project, said Sonam Gya, who is in charge of protecting the monastery's artifacts. Six halls have been recolored so far.

     

    The project, which began in 2012, has focused on reinforcing structural elements, restoring paintings and frescos and improving safety in the Tibetan Buddhist monastery, one of the largest temples of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

     

    The government has spent nearly 400 million yuan ($56.4 million) on the renovation project, Sonam Gya said.

     

    "We didn't change the original state of these cultural relics, and tried our best to preserve their authenticity, integrity and engage in minimal intervention during restoration," Sonam Gya said. "There are very rigid criteria on the hardness, humidity and antiseptic treatment of the wood and stone materials used to renovate the relics."

     

    Located in Xiahe county in the Gannan Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Labrang Monastery was built in 1709 and has been a major national cultural protection site since 1982.

     

    Sprawling across an area of more than 800,000 square meters, Labrang Monastery is famed for its architecture. It currently has six Buddhist colleges, 84 Buddha halls and more than 500 monks' houses. The current project is the first large-scale overall renovation of the temple since it was built.

     

    Over the past three centuries, the monastery has endured several fires, and its mud and wood structure is in urgent need of reinforcement.

     

    "China pays considerable attention to the protection of religious relics, which reflects the respect of Chinese laws and policies for religious cultures and the freedom of religious belief," said Wang Yanzhong, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology.

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