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0183 History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2
History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2 / Page 183 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000210
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arches led into it, leaving free passage to summer breezes and winter blizzards alike. The roof was double, and had suffered badly from the weather, while weeds and bushes had found a footing between the cylindrical tiles. As these had been forced apart the rain had seeped in, and the woodwork was in consequence badly rotted.

This pavilion contained the Potala memorial tablets, engraved in four languages —Manchu, Chinese, Mongolian, and Tibetan — on three immense vertical slabs of highly polished stone. Among other records was that of the Emperor CH'IEN LUNG, concerning the three joyous reasons for the building of the temple. I have had this record translated for me by Mr T. K. Koo of the National Library in Peking, from »A Handbook of Je-ho » (in Chinese). There is no detailed description of the temple.

»North of the Summer Palace lies Potala, which was built not after the Potala on the Southern Sea, but after the Tibetan Potala.1

The Tibetan Potala, du-khang (temple), is complete in all respects and a religious centre for our vassals.

In the year Keng-yin (177o) our both birthday fell, and, in the year Hsin-mao (1771) the 8oth birthday of our August Mother, the Dowager Empress. The royal princes from Mongolia etc., and the chiefs of the Dzungar tribes, who had recently sworn allegiance to us, gathered together to bring us their good wishes. As a sign of our encouragement and friendliness towards them we had already begun to build this temple. It was begun in the 32nd year of Ch'ien-lung (1767), and completed in the 8th month of the 36th year (September, 177 r) . The labour required was great, the temple-rooms are large and everything is dignified and clean in accordance with the precepts.

Our vassals over the border all believe in the religion of Sâkyamuni. Je-ho was the spot where our grandfather (the Emperor K'ANG Hsi) pacified and appeased them, and there he granted them audience .... Now the temple is finished in time for a great national event that is to be celebrated by all, in a unique manner. In addition to this, the Torguts, who have lived in Russia for some time, have returned, for religious reasons. The whole of their tribe — which numbers many ten-thousands — arrived just at this time, after wandering about for more than six months. Here is a coincidence that is mystic. »

The full name of this magnificent Potala temple is P'u-t'o-tsung-chêng-miao, or The Temple of P'u-t'o's Teaching. In his »Beschreibung des Jehol-Gebietes » (Leipzig 1902) Professor O. FRANKE, speaking of the Potala and the Hsin-kung, says that as far as he knows they have not their equal in the whole of China.

The Potala temple-monastery lies on the southern slope of a hill bordered on the north by the Lion Valley. Thus, on turning our steps northward through the scattered clumps of pines, we found ourselves mounting shallow steps of undressed stone. In the background rose the grand, heaven-storming façade of the Potala itself. First we passed through a p'ai-lou, richly ornamented with bright green and red faience, and having three archways surmounted by three small, gracefully shaped roofs. Beneath the outer ones were reliefs of yellow faience, with flames and writhing dragons. In front of the p'ai-lou two imposing stone lions kept watch. In former times it was forbidden for the pro f anum vulgus to go farther than this p'ai-lou — only the monks and the emperor himself might go as far

1 By the Southern Sea is meant the China Sea, where in Chekiang, not far from Ning-po, there was another Potala, on the island of P'u-t'u.