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Ruins of the Guge Kingdom

Ruins of the Guge Kingdom

In the middle of the 9th century, the Tubo оf Kingdom collapsed. The descendants of King Nangdharma established their own independent kingdoms and Chide Nyimagon became the king of Ngari, who had three sons. The Guge Kingdom was set up by his second son after he conquered Tsaparang. The main ruins of the Guge Kingdom are in Tsaparang where the dilapidated construction and the natural earth piles are perfectly integrated. More than 400 rooms and 800 caves are piled up on the slope of the hill, which is 300m high. Being the capital city of the Guge kingdom, the Tsaparang ruins are the largest complex in Tibet next to the Potala Palace, which covers an area of 720,000 sq. m. The main buildings of the Guge Kingdom consist of the red and white temples as well as mandala halls. The murals covering over a thousand square meters can be seen as its most precious remains. Among these murals there are paintings of creatures such as creature with human-headed but snake body, which is very rare in other places. There are other caves scattered around the ruins, which have preserved some weapons, helmets and armors used by warriors in the past.

Ruins of the Guge Kingdom

The kingdom played an important role in the second renascence in Tibet and survived for about 700 years before disappearing mysteriously in the 17th century.

Large-scale of archeological work began in 1985. In the following years of the excavation, a lot of sculpture works and mural paintings were unearthed. Houses, cave dwellings, monasteries and stupas were found on the mountain where the ruins are situated.

Most of the sculptures are gold or silver Buddhist statues, among which the best one is a statue called Guge Silver Eye. The murals are preserved in good condition, although they are hundreds of years old. The themes of the murals include every aspects of the social life of that time. The artistic and aesthetic value of Guge murals is deemed comparable with that of Mogao Caves (located in Gansu Province, China). Guge abounded with gold and silver. Sutras written with liquid gold or silver have been excavated in Tholing Monastery and in the villages of Zhabran, Piyang and Donggar. The sutra was written on a kind of dark blue paper, with the lines written alternately in liquid gold and liquid silver.

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