Beijing, April 16 (IANS) A Taiwanese monastery on Sunday returned an ancient pagoda body stolen 19 years ago from Shanxi province in China.
Dengyu stone tower, originally from Dengyu village of Shanxi, features Buddha images carved into the four-faced tower body. The colourful piece was made in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Xinhua news agency reported.
The tower was 320 cm high and composed of a base, a 177 cm body, a tower eave and spire.
It is an excellent example of Tang Dynasty stone carving and was given provincial-level protection in 1965.
In 1996, the spire was stolen and is still missing. The tower body was stolen in 1998, taken out of the Chinese mainland and donated by a private collector to Taiwan's Chung Tai Chan Monastery in 2015.
The monastery decided to return the tower to Shanxi after it confirmed its origins in 2016.
The tower arrived at Shanxi museum on January 24.
"We really appreciate the temple's decision," said Wang Taiming, head of Yushe county's cultural relic bureau.
"The donation is an excellent example of cultural exchange between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland," said Master Jian Deng, abbot of the Chung Tai Chan Monastery.