Labrang Monastery uses 300-year-old documents in restoration project

One of China's grandest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Northwest China's Gansu Province has completed restoration of 13 halls, local authorities announced on Monday.

Founded in 1709, the Labrang Monastery has 48 halls, more than 500 residences for monks and legions of relics, the China News Service reported.

Renovations began in September 2012 with a budget of 305 million yuan ($45 million). The Labrang Monastery restoration project is the most extensive undertaken by the monastery since China's reform and opening.

According to Gyumey Gyatso, a member of Labrang Monastery relic protection commission, the buildings were restored to their original appearance based on research of the monastery's literature and other documents.

During the restoration of murals, for example, only small pieces that had either faded or fallen off or cracked were repaired. "If we lacked documents for reference, larger pieces were not restored," said Gyumey Gyatso.

Sonam Gya, who is in charge of protecting the monastery's artifacts, said that two additional halls will be restored in the first half of 2018. Smoke detectors and fire detectors have also been installed in the halls of the monastery.

The Labrang Monastery is one of the three most famous monasteries of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is known as the "World Academy for Tibetan Art," as it possesses a vast number of Tibetan written works covering politics, history, culture and many other fields.