Over 3,000 ancient texts registered at Tibet's Potala Palace

Photo taken on Jan. 31, 2022 shows a view of the Potala Palace square decorated with Spring Festival elements in Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Chogo)

LHASA, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Over 3,000 rare and ancient texts from the Potala Palace in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region have been registered and filed for future protection and study in a project launched in 2018, according to the region's culture department.

The project is the largest of its kind at the palace so far, taking in more than one million folios, and with a total investment of 300 million yuan (about 44.9 million U.S. dollars).

The Potala Palace in Lhasa was built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century. The immense religious complex, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a treasure house of Tibetan history, culture and art.

Thanks to efforts made jointly by the central and local governments, over the past three years, the administration office of the palace not only set up a research center exclusively for the conservation and utilization of ancient books and documents, but also worked out a decade-long plan for the future protection, repair, digitization and exhibition of cultural relics.

Official statistics show that, by the end of 2021, the registration and filing of 3,078 rare and ancient texts, consisting of 1.07 million folios, had been completed, with more than 68 million yuan invested.

According to experts from the office, the Potala Palace currently houses tens of thousands of rare and ancient books and documents in Mandarin, Tibetan, Manchu, Mongolian and Sanskrit.

Among the most significant collections are scriptures written on 30,000 pattra leaves and the Tibetan Kagyur of the Tripitaka, or the discourses of Buddha, dating back to 1410. It also houses writings by senior monks, books on medicine and history, and a vast amount of the Tibetan Buddhist canon.