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Tibetan New Year raises heritage protection awareness

2014-03-04 10:33:48



At this time of the year, the Tibet autonomous region sees an influx of tourists from all over the world. Along with the growth of tourism in the region comes the issue of protection and preservation of cultural heritage.

Shiqu in the Tibet autonomous region, home of the famous Buddhist wall carvings, is also the source of many other mobile artifacts such as the Tangka and Buddhist sculptures.

According Xiong Wenbin, a scholar at the China Tibetology Research Center, more and more Buddhist artifacts like these are showing up in both domestic and international auctions, an alarming trend calling for better protection and regulation.

"We've found that the provenance of a lot of these artifacts are all in the region of Tibet, Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, and Yunnan. If we don't do something to increase our protection measures, what we have now will be gone soon," Xiong said.

After extensive study of the Buddhists artifacts in the region, Tibetologists and other experts found that most of these artifacts have been locked up in safe vaults. But analysis of past theft cases suggest that stashing away these artifacts is simply not enough. An alternative approach is urgently needed.

"The more valuable these temple artifacts are, the more these items should be exhibited and publicized, so that more people know that these items belong to the temple and that they cannot and should not appear in anyone's personal collections," said Luo Wenhua, at researcher at the Palace Museum.

Each a unique piece of art, these Buddhist statues also chronicle the evolution of the cultural and social past of the region. Soon, a museum will be constructed inside the temple and many of these historical cultural artifacts will see the light of day again.

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