A Historical Treasure

The Tabo Entry Hall (Gokhang སྒོ་ཁང་) is a small, earth-coloured room dominated by two crudely made gatekeepers, but it contains one of the most fascinating treasures of early Tibetan art and history. The fragmentary remains of murals going back to the foundation of the temple include two inscribed assemblies of historical personages, one on the south wall and a smaller group in a corner of the north wall. In addition the Entry Hall contains a rich aray of protective deities, fragments of a Wheel of Life, and a cosmological depiction.

The two crude sculptures flanking the entrance to the Assembly Hall today are certainly quite recent. However, the remains of the tenth-century painted flames behind the images and a number of holes in the wall where the wooden supports of the original sculptures were once anchored show that there were also two large gate-protectors in this location at the time of the foundation of the temple in 996 CE. These must have been impressive, as they are disproportionally large in this small room.