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Relics unveiled to public after renovation

 

A Chinese-character cliff carving and a Lord Guan Temple, the only temple extant in Tibet dedicated to the worship of Guan Yu, a Chinese general in the period of the Three Kingdoms (220 – 280 AD), were recently unveiled to the public after renovation. The two relics further demonstrate that, Chinese central government had begin to exercise sovereignty in Tibet centuries ago.

The stone carving is considered as the earliest Chinese-character stone carving in Tibet. It bears seven Chinese characters. The characters were inscribed by Chinese envoys of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) when they were passing Tibet on their mission to India.

In 2007, the Cultural Relics Bureau in Tibet spent 4.2 million yuan to renovate the Lord Guan Temple and repair the carvings. Right now, the two renovation projects have been completed and shown to the public. The two relics show to the world that Tibet has always been a part of China since very early times, said Nyima Cering, director of the Cultural Relics Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region.

The stone carving discovered in Tibet is classified as a state protection cultural relic. It was made in 658 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty. It was first discovered in the 1990s in Gyirong County, Xigaze (Shigatse).

The Lord Guan Temple was built in 1792 on Mopan (Millstone) Mountain in Lhasa. In that year, the Gurkhas of Nepal invaded Tibet and sacked Tashilhunpo Monastery. When Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) heard of the news, he ordered general Fu Kang'an to lead an army of 10,000 soldiers to Tibet, which finally drove the Gurkhas out of Tibet with the help of local residents.

Later, the Lord Guan Temple was built in memory of the event, Lord Guan, being the God of War in Chinese folklore. On festive occasions, resident officials that of the central government and businesspeople from other parts of China would go to the temple to pay respect to the legendary figure. Tibetan people would also go there to pay their respects on Tibetan festivals.

The Lord Guan Temple is a proof to the central government having exercised sovereignty over Tibet over the centuries. It demonstrates the determination of the Han and the Tibetan peoples in driving away foreign invaders and guarding the Chinese territory, Nyima Cering said.

The newly refurbished Lord Guan Temple will be opened to the public by the end of this year.

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