China-Nepal cultural exchange exhibition fosters the enduring bilateral friendship
Published: Dec 27, 2023 08:47 AM
Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

As the year 2024 approaches, some visitors have come to the famous Miaoying Temple, also known as the White Stupa Temple, in Beijing to pray. They walk around the pagoda, clasping their hands together in prayer. A manager told the Global Times on Tuesday that circling the pagoda clockwise an odd number of times can bring blessings from the Buddha, attracting many visitors each year seeking peace and health.

A woman surnamed Gao who came from Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, was on a tour of Beijing, and told the Global Times on Tuesday that this temple differs from traditional Chinese Buddhist architecture with its unique color and design. She learned from a recent exhibition that the tower was designed by an artist from Nepal during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368).

"I prayed with my mother in front of the Buddha sculptures in the temple, hoping for good health and fortune in the coming year," she said.

To share the history of the Miaoying Temple as well as the cultural exchange between China and Nepal, a recent exhibition titled "Sino-Nepal Friendship Across the Himalayas, A Better Understanding Through Bilateral Cultural Communications" opened at the temple on Friday. 

This exhibition uses a combination of text, images and artifacts to highlight the cultural allure of Nepal and the 1600-year history of cultural exchanges between China and Nepal. It also features a special segment dedicated to the life and artistic achievements of the Nepalese artisan Arniko, presented in an engaging comic strip format.

The exhibition reveals that Nepalese artisan Araniko excelled in architecture, sculpture, painting and much more. Although many of his creations no longer exist, the Miaoying Temple stands as a testament to his work.

Gu Ying, the deputy director of the management department of Miaoying Temple, told the Global Times on Tuesday that each year visitors and officials from Nepal come to visit the temple and they express their pride for the temple as well as the deep admiration for Araniko. 

 "They were also amazed by the excellent maintenance of the Miaoying Temple that has looked after for so many years," she added.

Gu hopes that through this exhibition, more visitors can learn about the friendly cultural exchanges between China and Nepal over the past 1600 years and understand Araniko's story.

She emphasizes how extremely positive the ongoing exchanges between China and Nepal are. With the development of China's cultural heritage conservation, international cooperation in safeguarding cultural relics has become an essential means of mutual learning and exchange with civilizations worldwide. She cites an example like the quake-ravaged Nuwakot palace in Nepal.

The Chinese Buddhist temple, the Miaoying Temple, was a monastery of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism and is now open to the public as a museum. The temple's white pagoda was built in 1279 in the Yuan Dynasty and is the oldest and largest Tibetan Buddhist pagoda in China, according to Xinhua.