Oldest Bud­dhist stele dis­cov­ered

Millennium Post - - WORLD -

BEI­JING: Chi­nese ar­chae­ol­o­gists be­lieve that the ninth cen­tury Pu­rang stele which was dis­cov­ered in north­ern Ti­bet to be the oldest in the Hi­malayan re­gion.

Shar­gan Wang­due, of Ti­bet Cul­tural Relics Pro­tec­tion In­sti­tute, said the stele was dis­cov­ered in Ngari pre­fec­ture in north­ern part of the Ti­bet Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion.

The stele is 1.85 me­ters tall, in­scribed with the im­age of a stand­ing Bud­dha, state-run Xin­hua news agency re­ported on Tues­day.

On its left side are 24 lines of old Ti­betan lan­guage. On its right side are 19 lines of Bud­dhist prayers. Shar­gan Wang­due said most schol­ars agree that the stele was set up in 826 or 838, dur­ing the pe­riod of Tubo king­dom.

“This stele shows Bud­dhism was al­ready be­ing prac­tised dur­ing the Tubo pe­riod in west­ern part of Ngari,” Shar­gan Wang­due said.

Also, ar­chae­ol­o­gists in south­west China's Sichuan Prov­ince have re­stored a “dragon bed” be­lieved to be used by an an­cient king 2,500 years ago.

The bed, 2.55 me­ters long, 1.3 me­ters wide and 1.8 me­ters tall, is the oldest and the best­p­re­served lac­quered bed ever un­earthed in China, said Yang Tao, an as­sis­tant re­searcher with Chengdu Cul­tural Relics and Ar­chae­ol­ogy Re­search In­sti­tute.

The bed was un­earthed in 2000 in a tomb com­plex dis­cov­ered in Chengdu, cap­i­tal of Sichuan.

“Parts of the bed were scat­tered in a num­ber of boat­shaped coffins at the time of the dis­cov­ery, and it took ar­chae­ol­o­gists and their staff 17 years to re­store the bed to its orig­i­nal form to the best of their abil­ity, us­ing var­i­ous tech­niques,” said Xiao Lin, who heads the restora­tion depart­ment of the in­sti­tute.

“Based on its struc­ture and pat­terns, the bed is very likely to have been used by an an­cient king of Shu State, who ruled the re­gion in the early War­ring States pe­riod 2,500 years ago,” Yan Jin­song, an ar­chae­ol­o­gist who headed the ex­ca­va­tion work of the tomb com­plex said.

“The signs that mak­ers left on the bed are highly re­lated to the lan­guage used in the Shu State, of­fer­ing new and valu­able clues to ar­chae­ol­o­gists keen to de­code the mys­te­ri­ous an­cient lan­guage,” he said.

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