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9 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Archaeological cooperation enriches Sino-Bangladesh ties

BY LIU CHUNTAO

First contact between the people of China and Bangladesh was initiated by the spread of Buddhism in ancient times via the Southern Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road. Such exchanges, including the journeys made by the Chinese monks Fa Xian and Xuan Zang, as well as the Bangladeshi holy man Atisa, have become topics of research. Such scientific examination of the past has enriched cultural exchanges between the two countries today.

Atisa was born in Vihara more than 1,000 years ago. In 1042, Atisa was invited to Tibet to teach Buddhism and died there in 1054. In 1978, some of his ashes were sent back to Bangladesh and housed in Dhaka.

Excavations of the Vihara ruins begun in 2010. Four years later, experts from the Hunan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, China were invited to Bangladesh to help with the excavation work. They contributed to making great discoveries at Vihara.

In January 2018, Chai Huanbo, Chinese leader of the joint archaeological team, said at a news conference that 1,200 square-metres of new archeological relics had been discovered. The ancient remains which were divided into two groupings, indicating important changes to Buddhist architectural styles had occurred. The find provides important new date for the study of Buddhist archaeology in South Asia.

According to reports, fragments of Chinese ceramics dating back to the Tang Dynasty some 1,500 years ago were unearthed, indicating Bangladesh’s long connection to the Southern Silk Road.

In addition, a large number of pottery was excavated from the site. It shows a clear chronological relationship with previously discovered relics. In response to the find, a joint archaeological team was set up to perform a pottery chronology sequence, thus filling in gaps in this field of research.

In 2017, the Atisa Memorial Hall was completed. Chen Wei, chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh, said that Atisa enjoys a high reputation in China. The discoveries made by the joint archaeological achievements of experts from both countries witnessed a long history of exchanges between the two peoples, and will become an important symbol of Belt and Road exchanges in the twenty-first century.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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