Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rare Portrait of Genghis Kahn Found in Tibetan Buddhist Temple in North China

As reported by Zee News; August 24, 2006

Beijing, August 24 -- A rare Thangka portrait of legendary Mongol leader Genghis Khan has been discovered in a Tibetan Buddhist temple in north China`s inner Mongolia autonomous region, a local cultural heritage official announced.

The painting was drawn by a Late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Mongolian artist, probably in the nineteenth century, Wang Dafang, an official with the Cultural Heritage Bureau of Inner Mongolia said.

The portrait is painted on a piece of cloth 28.5 cm long and 21 cm wide.

The painting shows Genghis Khan in martial attire, riding a white horse and holding a banner in his right hand, with a bow and a quiver of arrows on his back, according to Wang.

Thangka is a Tibetan art form that dates back 1,000 years and which mainly depicts images from Tibetan Buddhism.

It was discovered in Wudangzhao temple, in Baotou city, a Tibetan Buddhist temple that was restored in 1749.

"It is rare to have a Thangka painting of Genghis Khan, though there are different portraits of this Emperor in history," he said.

The painting indicates that Tibetan Buddhists also regarded Genghis Khan as a hero, said Wang.

Genghis Khan, whose grandson Kublai Khan founded the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), unified Mongol tribes and conquered most of Eurasia.

He was later given the title "Genghis Khan", which means "universal ruler".