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Tibetan's obsessive collecting leads to museum of cultural relics


Updated: 2015-08-18 15:52:17

Tibetan's obsessive collecting leads to museum of cultural relics

Chojor, center, explains the background of some ancient weapons to friends. [Photo/chinatibetnews]

Chojor, once a Tibetan herdsman, is browsing his 10,000-item collection of cultural relics in the first private museum in Tibet named after him.

He is curator and founder of the newly opened Chojor Ancient Weapons Museum in Maizhokunggar county, Tibet autonomous region. The story goes back 30 years when Chojor went to Lhasa with only 10 yuan ($1.56) seeking his fortune.

The then 17-year-old got his first job building the Banakshol Hotel. A month later, he earned around 60 yuan and bought a handcart with it, starting a cargo business. He also sold Tibetan butter for a while.

Chojor later learned that people were keen on buying traditional Tibetan furniture so he transported some from pastoral areas to Lhasa. To his surprise, his goods sold out immediately which made him realize the value of the furniture.

Unwilling to let them be taken out of Tibet, Chojor became committed to collect and preserve the "old things". He also accumulated knowledge about cultural relics and was able to identify the dates and value of them.

"The intuition was born with him. Although Chojor did not receive much education, he did really well in recognizing valuable pieces which should be collected and preserved," said Tsering Namgyal, chief of the Cultural Heritage Administration of Maizhokunggar county.

"Right after we got married he often went out for a month or two to collect things he liked. Now he still spends a lot of time at the antique market at Tromzikhang and Barkhor Street in Lhasa," said Phurbu Dolkar, Chojor's wife.

Phurbu quarreled with Chojor a lot about his collecting habit but compromised in the end. Being influenced by her husband, Phurbu learned how to distinguish pieces of china and learned to drive. Now she can collect china from distant places on her own.

Chojor soon made a name for himself in the local antique market. An increasing number of visitors came to him to sell their collections as well as "treasure hunting".

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