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0134 History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2
History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2 / Page 134 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000210
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had on January 9th to lend his support to our scheme, and assured me that he did not think the government would put any obstacles in our way. He even suggested that the acquisition might take the form of an official consideration of the temples as a polite gift from the Chinese Government to Stockholm and Chicago, partly because China would thus improve her good relations with Sweden and the U. S. A., and partly because the Chinese, in case others should refer to me in connection with a request to buy temples, could reply that this was a government interest. When I objected that BENDIx had given the money in order to stand himself as the donor, CHANG CHI thought that we should be able to find a form that would prove satisfactory to all parties.

At a Chinese dinner in the evening I discussed my plans with some representatives of the Chinese academic world in Peking. CHANG CHI was also present. I proposed to buy two lama temples for ten thousand silver dollars apiece. I also pointed out that I could place at the disposition of the Society for the Preservation of Cultural Objects a sum of twenty thousand silver dollars for the restoration of two temples or palaces in the Imperial City or at the Ming tombs near Nan-k'ou. It was of course out of the question to take away temples that were still in good condition or that were being used for divine services; the only ones that could be considered were abandoned temples that within a measurable time would be irreparable ruins.

Interest in the matter was lively, and a new conference was to be held. An absolute essential, however, was the permission of the government. CHANG Cm afterwards told me that the meeting had turned out very favourably as regards my proposal to purchase temples, and that my wishes would be realized. Their main conditions were that the words »buy » and »sell» were not to enter into our negotiations.

On the afternoon of January 14th we were invited to a party in the Zoological Gardens outside Hsi-chih-men, where LI YU-PING, the chancellor of the university, was to act as host. After tea had been drunk we went in cars to Wu-t'a-ssu (The Temple of the Five Pagodas) not far distant. This temple was built in the Indian style somewhat over five hundred years ago. It consists of an enormous cubical stone building whose outer walls are covered with Buddhist reliefs, and it is surmounted by five pagodas. The whole thing is a noble creation. The surrounding buildings belonging to the temple had been demolished two months previously, and the bricks and dressed stones sold by the owner. LI now wished to show the members of the Society for the Preservation of Cultural Objects the way in which venerable architectural memorials just outside Peking were treated. I wondered secretly whether he intended to use a part of our moneys for the protection and restoration of this temple.

At the subsequent dinner in the Zoological Gardens CHANG Cm advised me to