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 Tombs of Tibetan Kings (3)

The Tomb of Chide Songzan

Reigning from 793-815, late in the Tibetan Regime, King Chide Songzan was also buried in Qongyai County. This was confirmed by the Tibet Committee for Management of Cultural Relics in September, 1984 when his tomb's stele was located and recovered. The Tibetan script called King Chide Songzan very capable, saying: "(He was) farsighted and rigorous. His country was known far and wide to be powerful and prosperous and his people happy and virtuous, something not seen before. Kings and chieftains from all directions came to vow allegiance to him."

This tomb stele, the best preserved of all the Tang steles in Tibet, was a more valuable find than the Monument Stele Commemorating the Tang and Tibet-an Regimes' Alliance in front of the Suglakang Monastery in Lhasa. At 7.2 meters high, it consists of the crown, the shaft and the plinth. The crown capped by tiers of carved gems is a rectangle with a four-faceted bevel, the edge of which turns upward. The four facets display carved designs of floating clouds. Below each corner of the crown are four flying celestials in relief, stripped to the waist and graceful amid colorful fluttering ribbons. The rectangular shaft, 5.6 meters high, tapers to the top. The upper front section displays a carved sun and moon. Below are 59 horizontal lines of ancient Tibetan script, while two dragons mingle in relief with floating clouds on the shaft sides. Supporting the shaft is skillfully carved stone-tortoise plinth. The tomb stele is not only of great historical value, but an excellent art work of sculpture, a rare treasure among Tibetan Tang Dynasty tomb tablets. A pavilion now protects the treasure.

A few steps away is a stone tablet similar to the one in front of the Chide Songzan tomb. With carved jewelry on top, the same floating clouds, flying celestials and dancing dragons on the pillar, its shaft is 3.6 meters high. Inscriptions have been weathered away and the tablet has suffered severe damage. It is also said to be a gravestone of Chide Songzan, but far less valuable than the larger one.

The Tomb of Dusong Mangbujie

Halfway up Mure Mountains stands a large elevated platform of earth and stone which, according to Tibetan chronicles, should be the tomb of Dusong Mangbujie. Besides the huge earth heap, the pair of stone lions in front of the tomb are the most valuable surface artifacts. They are each 1.5 meters high, placed on a 1.2-meter-long and 0.8-meter-wide rectangular pedestal. Facing the tomb, they sit chin up and chest out, powerful and expressive. They are obviously in the early style of stone lions, with bald heads and hairy backs. With decisive carving and smooth lines, the two lions can stand among the best carving works of the Tang Dynasty in China, and are even more precious in Tibet.

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