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China seeks world heritage status for Tibetan sutra printing house

The woodblocks for sutra printing in the Derge Sutra Printing House. (Photo courtesy/ifeng.com)
The woodblocks for sutra printing in the Derge Sutra Printing House. (Photo courtesy/ifeng.com)

(TibetanReview.net, Oct28, 2015) – To make a point of being respectful of Tibetan culture, China said it had restarted work on an application for world heritage status for one of Tibet’s most famous Tibetan sutra printing houses, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency Nov 26.

Dege Sutra Printing House in Dege County, now part of China’s Sichuan Province, will re-prepare the application files after it suspended the work due to shortage of funds and the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the report cited Gong Jianzhong, who leads the local Chinese government programme, as saying.

Built in 1729, the Dege Sutra Printing House is well known for its exquisite frescos, sculptures, Tibetan-style buildings and the layers of woodcut printing plates, the report noted. The printing house stores more than 830 volumes of classical books and over 300,000 woodcut printing plates, which are of high academic value in the study of Tibetan history, politics, economy, religion, literature and art. Many of the books are the only existing copies.

The report did not say how much destruction, if any, it had suffered during the Chinese invasion of Tibet and especially during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution in China.

Gong, also head of the bureau of press, publication, radio, film and television in the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, has said the Dege Sutra Printing House had started its application work for the first time in 2005.

Workers print Buddhist scriptures with woodblocks in the Derge Sutra Printing House. (Photo courtesy/ifeng.com)
Workers print Buddhist scriptures with woodblocks in the Derge Sutra Printing House. (Photo courtesy/ifeng.com)

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