Tibet Builds First Yak Museum

LHASA, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Construction has begun in southwest China's Tibet on a museum dedicated to yaks, the plateau region's symbolic animal.

Workers are now laying the foundations, while the main building is expected to be completed within this year, Wu Yuchu, who is in charge of the museum's preparation work, told Xinhua on Monday.

The yak-themed museum, the world's first of its kind, is being built with assistance from the Beijing municipal government, Wu said.

It is located in Liuwu New District in the regional capital of Lhasa and will cover a floor space of more than 8,000 square meters.

"The museum won't simply display yaks, but also the Tibetan culture embodied by the animal," Wu added.

Having been domesticated for thousands of years on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, yaks are the most important animals to Tibetan families as sources of meat, milk, fibre and fuel for fires. They are also kept as pack animals.

The museum, with exhibitions focusing on the origin and domestication of yaks, and yak-themed artworks, is set to be open to the public on May 18 in 2014, which falls on International Museum Day.

Curators have already obtained some items for display, all donated by scholars, artists and ordinary Tibetans.

"The first donation we received was a tent knitted by a nomadic couple along with their friends, under the request of their son," Wu said, noting that everyday items bearing images of yaks have also been popular donations.

Wu is also planning for the attraction to exhibit a video clip featuring a rarely seen ancient ritual to pay tribute to yaks in Rongpu Monastery, and yak paintings created by several local artists.

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