Museum promotes vitality of barley

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Publish Time: 2021-12-23 Author: PALDEN NYIMA and DAQIONG From: CHINA DAILY

A highland barley museum was officially opened recently in Shigatse, Tibet autonomous region, as part of an aid-Tibet project undertaken by Qingdao, Shandong province, a member of the project team said.

Highland barley has been one of the region’s main crops for thousands of years, and Shigatse is known as the ideal place for growing the crop.

Covering more than 2,400 square meters and located in the city’s Samdrubtse district, the museum has more than 460 items on display, including pots, stone and farming tools, carbonized highland barley grains and highland barley seeds, said Wang Peng, a member of the aid-Tibet team from Qingdao, working in Shigatse.

"Divided into five main sections, the museum provides information about the origin, distribution, geographical environment, varieties, development procedures, cultivation and nutritional value of highland barley," Wang said.

There is also an exhibit promoting the scientific achievements and contributions of the late Tibetan agricultural scholar Nyima Tashi, who is regarded as the "Father of Highland Barley".

The exhibit also displays the central government’s preferential policies pertaining to the region’s agriculture, he said.

"When our team was dispatched to work in Shigatse in 2019, we wanted to do something for the city’s highland barley industry and promote its history and culture. We have invested more than 16 million yuan ($2.5 million) in these efforts," Wang said. "With the construction and operation of the museum, we hope that more people will get to know about the nature and culture of highland barley."

Highland barley is an indispensable grain in Tibetan culture. For example, roasted highland barley flour, called tsamba in the Tibetan language, is a daily staple.

Shigatse is major regional producer. In fact, highland barley production in the city accounts for nearly 48 percent of the region’s total.

Tenzin Drolma, deputy director of the culture and tourism bureau of Samdrubtse district, said the official opening of the museum will help promote Shigatse’s reputation as the "hometown of highland barley".

"Having a museum of highland barley is essential because more people can learn the history and culture related to highland barley cultivation," she said.

Lhakpa Tsering, a Shigatse resident, said he is pleased with the opening of the museum and hoped the government and farmers would continue to value the importance of highland barley in the region. "As a main staple food in Tibet, the cultivation of highland barley matters to everyone," he said.

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