400-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monastery to be restored

Xinhua News, February 21, 2007

Qinghai, China -- The Taer Monastery in northwest China's Qinghai province, one of the six best known monasteries of the Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, will undergo a repair this year, according to local cultural heritage authorities.

Three major buildings and an exhibition museum in the monastery would be restored, said Ma Weimin, deputy director of Qinghai Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau.

The four have not been repaired in previous restorations in the past 15 years.

A leading team for the restoration has been set up and the project will be completed within this year, according to Ma.

The Ministry of Finance will allocate ten million yuan (about 1.28 million U.S. dollars) for the repair.

Construction of the monastery, 27 kilometers south of the provincial capital Xining, began in 1560 to honor the memory of Tson-Khapa, founder of the Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

It is noted for the architectural brilliance of its halls and rooms and about 20,000 religious paintings, appliques and yak butter sculptures.

The monastery has undergone various damage in fires, earthquakes, landslides and foundation subsidence in the past four centuries.

A large-scale restoration project was carried out between 1992 and 1996 at a cost of nearly 40 million yuan, covered by the government and donations.

In 2001, the government allocated another 30 million yuan for the restoration of a palace in the monastery.