Ren­o­va­tion of Po­tala Palace roof nearly com­plete

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By PALDEN NY­IMA in Lhasa palden_ny­ima@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ren­o­va­tion of the golden roof of the Po­tala Palace is nearly com­plete and is await­ing inspection by the Na­tional Cul­tural Her­itage Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said the Po­tala Palace Man­age­ment Of­fice in the Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion on Wed­nes­day.

The govern­ment has been mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fort to pre­serve Ti­bet’s cul­tural relics over the past few decades, in­clud­ing the palace, one of three UNESCO World Her­itage sites in the re­gion.

With a his­tory of more than 1,300 years, the Po­tala Palace is an in­valu­able as­set that en­riches Ti­bet’s his­tory, cul­ture, art and re­li­gion.

The his­tor­i­cal palace un­der­went two ma­jor ren­o­va­tions by the cen­tral govern­ment from 1989 to 2009 dur­ing which more than 200 mil­lion yuan ($29 mil­lion) was in­vested.

Not only does the site re­ceive sup­port for ren­o­va­tion from the cen­tral govern­ment, but it also con­tin­ues to re­ceive ren­o­va­tion and preser­va­tion as­sis­tance from the re­gional govern­ment and the palace’s man­age­ment of­fice, said Jor­dan, deputy head of the of­fice.

The lat­est ren­o­va­tion of the roof was launched in April.

“More than 31 mil­lion yuan was spent dur­ing the re­cent ren­o­va­tion,” said Jor­dan.

The ren­o­vated roof con­sists of reli­quary stu­pas of the suc­ces­sive Dalai La­mas, in­clud­ing the fifth Dalai Lama Ngak­wang Losang Gy­atso, the sev­enth Dalai Lama Kal­sang Gy­atso, the eighth Dalai Lama Jam­pal Gy­atso, the ninth Dalai Lama Lungthok Gy­atso, and the roof of the Aval­okites­vara Tem­ple.

The ren­o­vated roof also has seven vic­tory ban­ners and four roof or­na­ments along its edge.

“The sur­face of the reli­quary stu­pas was eroded by rain­wa­ter, and the color of the gold plat­ing has faded over time,” said Tashi Phuntsok, head of the of­fice’s ren­o­va­tion de­part­ment.

Phuntsok also said ren­o­va­tion is nec­es­sary since wooden por­tions of the roof are com­pro­mised from rot, pests and other nat­u­ral causes.

Prior to the launch of the ren­o­va­tion project, the of­fice con­ducted a bid­ding process to re­cruit a lead­ing con­struc­tion team to carry out the chal­leng­ing work. The ten­der was won by Ti­bet Chak­pori Hand­i­crafts Bronze Arts Co Ltd, a lo­cal com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in the pro­duc­tion of Bud­dhist sculp­tures and monastery ren­o­va­tions.

Do­phuk Tsang Tsega, head of the com­pany, said 75 kilo­grams of gold was used in the ren­o­va­tion of the golden roof.

Tsega, who is the head of the re­gion’s sculp­ture art as­so­ci­a­tion, is orig­i­nally from the Do­phuk Tsang fam­ily, which has a rich cul­tural back­ground, pro­duc­ing many Bud­dhist masters and crafts­men.

Hav­ing more than 50 crafts­men in­clud­ing painters, car­pen­ters, stone­ma­sons, cop­per smiths, sculp­tors and re­li­gious scrip­ture carvers, the com­pany makes bronze and golden Bud­dhist sculp­tures and re­li­gious ob­jects.

The palace of­fice has a ren­o­va­tion de­part­ment that is re­spon­si­ble for daily preser­va­tion and main­te­nance work.

First built in the sev­enth cen­tury by Ti­bet’s 33rd king Songt­sen Gampo, and ex­panded by the fifth Dalai Lama Ngak­wang Losang Gy­atso and his min­is­ter Desi Sangye Gy­atso in the 17th cen­tury, the Po­tala Palace was used as the res­i­dence, ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fice and re­li­gious rit­ual sites of suc­ces­sive Dalai La­mas.

To bet­ter pre­serve the palace’s ar­chi­tec­ture, the of­fice al­lows a max­i­mum of 5,000 vis­i­tors each day.

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