A stone lion the height of a man was recently unearthed in Lhasa, near what is believed to be a former ministerial office, according to local authorities.
The stone lion, 169-cm tall and 104.7-cm wide, was excavated on March 22 by a team of construction workers on Dosengge Road in Lhasa's city center, according to a Tibet Autonomous Region cultural heritage bureau press release Wednesday.
It said that experts from the bureau and Tibet's regional museum had spent weeks doing research before concluding that the statue was dated to the 18th century.
The site was at the former office of grand ministers stationed in Tibet by emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to supervise local governance on behalf of central authorities.
"Dosengge" means "stone lion" in Tibetan.
"The road was named after the two stone lions that sat at the entrance of the grand minister's office," said Professor Tseten Tashi, Tibet University historian.
The ministerial office was inaugurated on Dosengge Road in 1728, a year after the first grand minister was stationed in Lhasa, according to the professor.
The unearthed statue was intact with traces of color and paint still visible, and is believed to be one of a pair.
Cultural heritage authorities are organizing an excavation of the other lion.
The area is off-limits to visitors for protection purposes.