An expedition led by Michael Eisenriegler has found the Buddhist relics which belonged to the 19th century Buddhist master Danzan Ravjaa. The relics, which include statues, art work, manuscripts and personal belongings, were hidden in the 1930s during Mongolia’s Communist purge. Hundreds of Buddhist monasteries were destroyed and looted during this time.
In order to save the relics from destruction they were hidden in a total of 64 crates. These crates where buried in the Gobi Desert by a Buddhist monk called Tudev. Tudev passed the secret of the relics’ locations on to his grandson who was able to rediscover some of the boxes in 1990. Michael Eisenriegler’s expedition has unearthed two more of the historically and religiously important crates.
Eisenriegler told the BBC World Service, “It is of tremendous value for Mongolian culture because Buddhism was almost extinct in the Communist times, especially in the 1930s.
“I’m totally exhausted right now but I’m also totally impressed with what I’ve seen.”
It is thought that as many as 20 crates may still be hidden in the desert.
In Pure Spirit
What do you think should be done with these relics? Do they belong to Tudev’s family?