Stone lion, one of a pair, unearthed in Lhasa

Indo Asian News Service

Lhasa, April 19 (IANS) A stone lion of the height of a man was recently unearthed near a former ministerial office in Tibet capital city Lhasa, authorities said on Wednesday.

The 169-cm tall and 104.7-cm wide lion was excavated on March 22 by a team of construction workers on Dosengge road in Lhasa's city centre, Xinhua news agency quoted the Tibet region cultural heritage bureau as saying in a statement.

It said that experts from the bureau and Tibet's regional museum had spent weeks doing research before concluding that the statue dated back to the 18th century.

The site was at the former office of grand ministers stationed in Tibet by emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to supervise local governance on behalf of central authorities.

"Dosengge" means "stone lion" in Tibetan.

"The road was named after the two stone lions that sat at the entrance of the grand minister's office," said Professor Tseten Tashi, Tibet University historian.

The ministerial office was inaugurated on Dosengge Road in 1728, a year after the first grand minister was stationed in Lhasa, according to the professor.

The unearthed statue was intact with traces of colour and paint still visible, and is believed to be one of a pair.

The cultural heritage authorities are organising an excavation of the area for the other lion.

The area is off-limits to visitors for protection purposes.