Shalu Monastery
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Shalu Monastery

Update: Jan. 11th, 2013

Shalu Monastery

Shalu Monastery is about 30 kilometers to the southeast of Shigatse, Tibet. It is recorded that Shalu Monastery was built in 1087. It is a key cultural relic under state protection. It is noted for its ancient and beautiful mural paintings.

Shalu Monastery – History

In 1329, Shalu Monastery was seriously damaged by a disastrous earthquake. The emperor of Chinese Yuan Dynasty bestowed the local official with a great quantity of property to rebuild the monastery. And the monastery was restored in 1333.

The rebuilt Shalu Monastery integrated the architectural style of Tibetan and Han. The glazed roof tiles, carved porcelains, and some other Yuan-style factors were introduced to the restoration of Shalu Monastery. It is said that there was a big mural on the wall of Shalu hall which presented a work situation of the Tibetan and inland craftsmen.

Buton Rinchen Drub acted as the abbot of Shalu Monastery until he passed away in 1364. He made great achievements in Buddhism study. A lot of Buddhists around Tibet were attracted to Shalu Monastery by Buton. Shalu Monastery was an important center of Buddhism studies for centuries.

By 1800s, Shalu Monastery became less influential and the Buddhism scholars did not choose to study in the monastery any more. The monastery was abandoned gradually.

Later, the local government attached great importance to the preservation and protection of Shalu Monastery. Reconstruction of Shalu Monastery started in 2009.

Shalu Monastery – Architecture

The main construction of Shalu Monastery called Shalu Lakhang in Tibetan. It is a two-storey building located at the center of the monastery. It is a special construction with glazed roof tiles and overhanging eaves.

Shalu Lakhang covers an area of 1500 square meters. There are statues of Sakyamuni and his eight disciples. There is a chapel on both sides of the main hall; some precious Buddhism scriptures were stored in the chapels. A lot of old and dedicate murals on the walls of the monastery and most of them present stories about Buddha.

Shalu Monastery – Murals

The murals in Shalu Monastery are the typical works of Tibetan Buddhism in Chinese Yuan Dynasty. There are about 100 murals in the monastery. Most of them are on the walls of the corridor. The most valuable mural in the monastery is scripted by Buton.

The murals in Shalu Monastery are characterized by lively and beautiful. They were greatly influenced by inland Buddhism of Chinese Yuan Dynasty. They also influenced the Tibetan mural art at late Yuan Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty. They are of great significance for the research of the Tibetan art history and cultural relationship between Chinese Yuan Dynasty and Tibet.

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