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The decoration of Qianlong's tomb (1736-1796). A Manchu Emperor and Tibetan Buddhism

Décor de la tombe de Qianlong

The decoration of Qianlong’s tomb

by Françoise Wang-Toutain, Director of the Institute of Tibetan Studies at the Collège de France and Director of Research, CNRS.

The opening of the tomb of Manchu Emperor Qianlong in 1977 provoked the amazement of archaeologists by revealing an extremely complex ornamental program in which writing, and more specifically inscriptions in Tibetan and Lantsa, occupied a major place beside dozens of Buddhist representations. The ideas behind this setting have been the creation and protection of a sacred space for the Buddhist funerary ritual of the Indo-Tibetan tradition and, more surprisingly, the development of a virtual “stupa”.