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Assignment Report
Assistance in the Restoration
of the Amarbayasgalan Monastery




Detailed Work plan and Schedule

of Restoration
Masao Moku



Paris, 1982

Serial N o . FMR/CLptH/82/205(UNDP)

Assignment Report (Moku)
2 6 February 1982


THE PLAN 1981 - 1982

Appendix I - Persons met in Mongolia
Appendix II - Work Schedule 1981-1982


This report is one of the series on the work being carried out for
the restoration of the Amarbayasgalan temple and other buildings forming part
of the monastery. International assistance was required as there were a
number of problems encountered in this important project which reflects the
history of Mongolia.
Mahayana Buddhism was introduced into the country from Tibet in the
XVIth century and for the following three centuries many temples and monasteries
were built and much of the male population became monks. When the Peoples'
Republic of Mongolia was proclaimed in 1921, monastic development ended and
the monasteries were closed. Lack of maintenance caused much deterioration
in these religious structures hastened by the harsh climate prevailing in
The decision made by the authorities to restore Amarbayasgalan,
as an outstanding example of this period in their history, resulted in the
realization that traditional skills needed had been completely lost. As a
result, Unesco, under its Regular Programme and later, under the United Nations
Development Programme, has sent a number of consultants from Japan to advise
on restoration and, at the same time, undertake a programme to train the
artisans required, either by working at the site or by being sent on fellowships for further training in Japan.
The present report covers the consultant's mission to Mongolia
from 1 August to 2 September 1981. It reviews the work carried out in 1981
and summarizes the proposed schedule of work for 1982.
In 1978 the consultant visited Mongolia, accompanied by
Mr. Koji Nishikawa, Assistant Professor at Kyoto University, to prepare an
outline of the project for the restoration of the Amarbayasgalan Temple.
The project had been started in accordance with this outline, and at the
request of the Mongolian authorities be visited Ulan Bator for consultations
with the Government Restoration Committee prior to commencing work.
At that time, and although the Restoration Committee had attempted
to carry out this restoration Work within the framework of the preservation
of cultural heritage in Mongolia (The Gandan and Chozoranmo temples in
Ulan-Bator as well as the Eldenizo temple in Holhorin), considerable
difficulty had been experienced in carrying out full-scale restoration, due
to problems connected with the study of and experience in colouring the
Restoration of the Amarbayasgalan Temple was started as a project
to enable Mongolian architects to master certain techniques and gain
- 1 -

At the outset, an inventory was made of the needs concerning
trapsportation, communication facilities, housing, water supply, drainage,
power supply and the installation of the tile-firing kilns'and other
During earlier visits to Mongolia in 1978, 1980 and 1981 the
consultant had realized that preparatory work had been seriously delayed,
and one of the purposes of the current visit was to give fresh consideration
to the Plan for 1981 and 1982, and, in the light of delays, to proceed to
an overall revision of the earlier Plan. Damage had been caused to the
scaffolding erected around Tsogchin dugan in August 1980 and this could no
longer be utilized. In the light of the importance of restoring Tsogchin
dugan it was felt that it was of the utmost importance to train local
artisans in this field.
In accordance with this policy, a principal architect, an assistant
architect and a specialist in bricks and tiles, kilns, painting and woodwork
were sent to Mongolia in 1979, and during their comparatively brief stay in
the country good cooperation was achieved between the different specialized
sections. A request was received for architects, but due to delays in
recruitment and subsequent cases of ill-health of the specialists that had
been designated, the mission had to be regretfully postponed.
Prior to his arrival in Mongolia the consultant was unable to
ascertain the advancement of construction which, as found on arrival, is being
executed slowly in accordance with the established policy, but preparatory
work had not been completed. The conclusion was therefore reached that the
work could not be speeded up through the restoration of smaller buildings
and by initiating a training programme for local architects.
Repair of the outstanding parts of the monastery (Bogdiin sum,
Tsogchin sum and Tsagaan dugan) which had suffered considerable damage,
is therefore of paramount importance.
As stated by Mr. Hishigt, Vice-Chairman of the Architecture
Committee, during the final'meeting (8 September 1980), some constructions
had not been scheduled following the departure of the consultants in 1979.
Delays were also caused by the fact that some thirty artisans from
Viet Nam had not taken up their posts in Mongolia. Transport arrangements
for the group had not been finalized and this fact was another cause of delay
in the transportation of materials, tools, machines and timber as well as in
the installation of the kilns and the preparation of pigments for colouring.
All sections were affected by this state of affairs.
The main work carried out between 1979 and 1981 included:
- scaffold construction around the Tsogchiin temple
- repair of the drainage system
- ground excavation and clearance work
- construction of a hostel to accommodate 28 artisans


- installation of an independent electric power station, of which only

one part is at present operational .
- water research and well construction
- transportation of timber and other materials
- reception and transportation of equipment supplied by Unesco.
It must be stressed that preparatory work has not been, completed,
and it has now become a matter of urgency that timber for the winter season
be supplied, that work for an electric power station and a hangar to house
a workshop for the installation of saws and planes be terminated, that
further equipment from Unesco be received and installed and,, finally, that
full and* complete facilities become available to carry out construction work
in 1982 in an effective manner.
The number of artisans who normally reside at Amarbayasgalan
is 19, including four architects and engineers and three carpenters, their
tasks include the drawing-up of plans to scale, constructing workshops, hangars
and hostels.
Due to the difficult climate in Mongolia, and especially the harsh
winter months, effective work can only be undertaken between 15 April and
15 October, the winter, being used for planning and the preparation of
materials. According to plans made in July-September 1979, the six technical
experts had been expected to prepare all building materials and equipment and
complete the facilities, thus enabling the project to commence in 1980 as
a full-scale project.
Unfortunately, construction work was only intermittent, resulting
in a delay of over one year.
It was found that scaffolding had been erected in the winter
months, but contrary to expectations preparation of materials and facilities
had been delayed considerably and was not complete in 1980.
Since the;middle of 1980 equipment supplied by Unesco has.been
arriving at the site, but the most important independent electric power
station was not working properly to allow the equipment to be utilized
in an adequate manner. Under these circumstances, only the jeep and the
truck can be used in deforestation work in bringing in timber from the
local mountains. Some 20 logs (root diameter 60-80 cm, length 20-30 m.) and
130 logs (root diameter below 60 cm., length 20-30 m.) are being stocked
at the site and this is considered adequate. However, the general situation
makes it difficult to amend the schedule of work in a correct manner.
In the light of the above, the Plan for 1981-1982 has been
rearranged as follows:
- arrange the front garden of Jin Honhnii sum, Jin Hengeregnii and
IV Bogdiin
- prepare and process timber to be used for this purpose


- construct a workshop/hangar in front of the West Tsagaan dugan, and install

a bandsaw and a planer;
- complete urgently the construction of the boiler room (for the independent
electric power station), the storehouse for charcoal, the bathroom, a
garage and a hostel tor house 28 artisans.
The key issue which remains is the smooth execution of the decisions
made concerning materials and equipment within the budget set aside for this
purpose and in line with the general policy that has been established. The
Government of Mongolia awaits the arrival of some 30 specialists from Viet Nam
in the fields ofwoodwork, tile and stone masonry, to begin work some time after
1 April 1982. It is expected that their presence will have a considerable
influence on the progress of work.
THE PLAN 1981 - 1982
As mentioned in the preceding section, changes in the plan proved
unavoidable, resulting in the interruption of work on the Tsogchin temple
and on the restoration of small buildings surrounding Tsogchin sum and the
Jin Honhnii sum priory.
By visiting the site in August 1981, Mr. Takigawa was able to
provide practical training to the local artisans and to instruct them in the
erection of scaffolding for the Bell temple at Jin Hengeregnii sum
The Plan for 1981-1982 envisages the completion by the spring of 1982
of the preparatory work for the repair of the damaged wooden parts and the roof
thatching. To ensure that the Plan is carried out,it was decided to prepare
about 1000 logs for scaffolding, a hangar/workshop to house a bandsaw and
a planer, and bring in some materials, principally timber for the repair
of the wooden parts during the winter months. Furthermore, the boiler room
for the independent power station should be completed as soon as possible.
Although work to be undertaken in winter is difficult and arduous,
it is considered important to ensure progress of construction in the course
of 1982. With due preparation, all activities (wood processing, drying of
timber, preservation and operations of machines and tools) could be'carried
out smoothly.
If restoration work of Tamgiin, Mahranziin and Tuuhiin could be
completed in 1982,prospects for 1983 and beyond would seem excellent. If
the Plan for 1981-1982 is a success,it will provide a clear indication for
further restoration work of IV Bogdiin and Zuugiin sum, both of which can
be completed in four to five years,or possibly more. (A time schedule is
attached as appendix).
The most important aspect of the restoration of the Amarbayasgalan
Temple is the manner of the restoration of the roofs of all the buildings
concerned. The damage of the wooden parts, inclined walls and other damage
is caused by leaking roofs and broken or missing tiles.


In 1979, the Mongolian Government requested assistance
- in setting up facilities for producing hand-made grey fired bricks:
- in setting up facilities for producing hand-made polychrome tiles:
- in repairing the wooden part of the monastery.
Equipment for this purpose' was also requested.
In 1979 -1980, non-expendable equipment, such as a typewriter,
electric tools, a truck and a car for transportation, was supplied. Certain
elements of machinery, as well as gold foil (colour No. A-3, 2g/100 sheets)
have not yet been supplied, and whereas oil paints have been furnished, there
remains a need for pigments as painting material.
During the consultant's stay at the site for about one month in
August 1979, accompanied by Messes. Kobayashi and Matsuoka, a small kiln for
producing bluish tiles and bricks by making use of locally available materials
was built. Although this kiln was.rather primitive and it was impossible
to adjust temperatures,it enabled the local artisans to familiarize themselves,
with the theory of firing. While attempts had been made to produce tiles and
bricks several times with this kiln, the results were not entirely satisfactory.
If operation of this kiln can be fully mastered,one can expect to
produce tiles and bricKs on a large scale by building a number of kilns.
Indeed, a "liquid fuel kiln for firing bluish bricks and tiles" was included
in the equipment list for 1979-1980, and is listed again under the current
During the mission the details concerning items 1 to 58 were
investigated in the "establishment of an order of priority for equipment
for project M0N/75/001". The consultant's opinion is as follows:
- there is priority for Nos. 1 and 2
- Nos.13-16 are tools that are only used occasionally, and it is therefore
difficult to determine which tools are essential: due to budget constraints
some may have to be abandoned
- Nos.21-36 are useful since they are cheap and serve a number of purposes
- Nos.41,42, 51-56 are necessary as instruments for the architecture section
- Nos.37-40 are essential in colouring work (pigments and gold foil).
Further consideration will be given to the need for small equipment,
such as a portable cycle, lawn mower, winch, scaffold assembly, stepladder,
wire rope, chainblock, etc. No doubt, as time goes on, additional funds for
equipment will be required.
The consultant was due to be accompanied during the 1981 mission by
two experts (bricks and .tiles and woodwork), but due to ill-health they were
unable to travel, and the schedule had to be modified accordingly. Finally,
Mr. Takigawa replaced Mr. Kato (specialist in woodwork), but the specialist
in bricks and tiles could not be replaced prior to the consultant's departure
from Japan. Details of the training programme will be given in Mr. Takigawa's


The scaffolding around Jin Honhnii sum was erected and the use
of logs, joints and wire stretching were practised. Damage to the wooden
parts was investigated and their repair,with, timber and calculation of the
quantity of timber needed,undertaken. Actual measurements were made and
a blueprint for the buildings was drawn up.
The state of damage to the front room and ceiling of Tsogchinn
dugan was investigated and the quantity of timber needed for its repair
calculated. Nine other frames of Tsagaan dugan were also investigated.
It was not possible in 1981 to produce tiles, nor could the
temperatures of the potbellied kiln be adjusted. This work is being
postponed to 1982. With the kiln to be supplied by Unesco, firing can be
practised with it as well as with the potbellied kiln. The kiln is therefore
urgently required.
With the completion of the boiler room, the independent power
station, the increase in the number of artisans and the supply of timber
until April 1982, a subsequent visit could be scheduled to take place in
May or June 1982.


Persons met in Mongolia
Mr. BATRASAN, Director, Board of Restoration of Cultural and Historical
Mr. BATA, Building and architecture Committee

Vice-Chairman, Building and architecture Committee

Mr. AYUISHM, Head of Kholkoze in Baronblen

Mr. ABORKIN, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development
Programme in Mongolia