Data base to be set up for better protection of ancient Tibetan kingdom

China Tibet Information Center, Nov 15, 2004

Beijing, China -- Work to set up a data base with a hope for better protecting ruins of an ancient Tibetan kingdom founded around the 10th century in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, has begun and is proceeding well, according to local cultural authorities.

As a crucial part of the data base, murals of the kingdom and of its temples in nearby areas, totaling 4,000 sq m, will be copied and the copies will proceed to be used as reference in future restoration in case that these relics could be destroyed orsink into oblivion in possible natural adversities, said Namga Doje, head of the cultural bureau of Ngari prefecture.

Three painters are currently copying murals at the castle ruins of the Guge Kingdom, located in Zhada county, Ngari prefecture in western Tibet.

Panoramic shooting and architectural measuring of the castle ruins of the kingdom will also be done and will be compiled into three-dimensional materials, for both future restoration referenceand cultural exchanges around the world, Namga Doje noted.

He went on to noted that the data base for the Guge Kingdom, which will be the first for a historic site in Tibet, is expected to be completed in three years.

The Guge Kingdom survived about 700 years before disappearing mysteriously in the 17th century.

The castle ruins of the kingdom lie at a hilltop near a river, covering 180,000 sq m. The three-story structure include more than 300 houses and cave dwellings, with palaces on the top floor and monasteries in the middle and, cave dwellings for common people at the bottom.

The castle was built with solid fortifications. Part of it remains in good shape in this seldom trodden region. The ruins arefamous for murals of more than 1,000 sq m, sculpture and stone inscriptions, which depict mainly stories of Buddha, Sakyamuni andkings of Guge and their ministers.

The ruins of the Guge Kingdom were listed as one of the major national cultural protection units in 1961. China is bracing for filing an application to add the ruins on the world cultural and natural heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).