Buddha Relief Plaque (from Nanthang Ruins)

This plaque comes from the ruins of Nartang Monastery near Shigatse in Tibet. The monastery was founded in 1153 by Tumton Lodro Drakpa and became famous for housing the woodblocks of the Nartang edition of the entire Buddhist canon, which were carved between 1730 and 1742. According to the locals, the walls of the once noble monastery were lined with tens of thousands of stone plaques of various Buddhas like this one. Thanks to the Chinese invasion of Tibet and the destructive nature of the Cultural Revolution, the monastery now stands in ruins. Its high mud-brick walls were stripped bare of the plaques, which were largely destroyed and used for land fill. The surviving plaques are piled in heaps throughout the ruins and can be purchased for a donation to the temple.