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Museum completes digitization of temple frescos

Updated: Apr 16, 2021 By Wang Kaihao China Daily Print
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Qutan Temple, first built during the Ming Dynasty, is a perfect example of the mixing of arts and culture of the Han and Tibetan ethnic groups.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The initial phase of a digitization project of precious frescos in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Northwest China has been recently completed, thanks to efforts by a research team from the Palace Museum in Beijing. The announcement was made by the museum on Thursday.

In Haidong, Qinghai province, more than 2,300 square meters of Buddhist frescos are well-preserved in the 700-year-old Qutan Temple, thus making it widely regarded as one of the most important cultural and artistic collections on the eastern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

First built in 1392, the monastery was expanded and renovated several times during the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and a grand temple complex with a rich collection of cultural relics was formed. It was listed as a key national-level heritage site in 1982.

The temple's architecture and layout were also deeply influenced by the Forbidden City in Beijing, now known as the Palace Museum.

"It is among the most important Tibetan Buddhist temples in Northwest China," says Luo Wenhua, leading researcher of the project and head of the Tibetan Buddhism research institute of the Palace Museum.

A database of the frescos has been gradually established since 2017, collecting high-definition images and key information about the cultural relics.

This is the first time the frescos in Qutan Temple have been recorded in a comprehensive and accurate way.

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